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Designing a Service-Learning Design Project for a First-Year Engineering Course

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher B. Williams, Janis P. Terpenny, Richard M. Goff

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. DETC2009-87091, pp. 631-639; 9 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 8: 14th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference; 6th Symposium on International Design and Design Education; 21st International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, August 30–September 2, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4905-7 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3856-3
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


The creation of an appropriate, meaningful design experience for a first-year engineering design course is challenging as the instructor must balance resource constraints with broad learning objectives and a diverse, and often very large, enrollment. In this paper, the authors present the task of developing a design project for a first-year engineering course as a problem of design. Following a structured design process, the authors articulate the requirements for a successful first-year design project including: learning objectives that are appropriate for a multi-disciplinary group of first-year students and common budgetary and time constraints. Several project alternatives are generated and evaluated in a conceptual design phase. In their description of the embodiment and detail design phases, the authors present the implementation of the selected project concept: ROXIE (“Real Outreach eXperiences In Engineering”). The ROXIE project, a service-learning themed project, tasks first-year students with serving as design consultants to not-for-profit community partners. Through this partnership, students are able to practice principles and tools of design methodology and project management. Preliminary survey data and excerpts of student reflection essays are provided as a means of supporting the instructors’ project selection.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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