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Designettes: New Approaches to Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Education

[+] Author Affiliations
Cassandra Telenko

Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore, SingaporeMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Bradley Camburn, Katja Hölttä-Otto, Kristin Wood, Kevin Otto

Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore, Singapore

Paper No. DETC2014-35137, pp. V003T04A003; 11 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 16th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 11th International Conference on Design Education; 7th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
  • Buffalo, New York, USA, August 17–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4634-6
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Teaching of design and other fundamental topics in engineering is often isolated to dedicated courses. Thus, an opportunity is missed to foster a culture of engineering design and multidisciplinary problem solving throughout the curriculum. Designettes, defined as brief, vignette-like design challenges, exploit opportunities to integrate design learning experiences in class, across courses, across terms, and across disciplines. When courses join together in a designette, a multidisciplinary learning activity occurs, demonstrating how different subjects are integrated and applied to open-ended problems and grand challenges. Designettes help foster a culture of design, and enables the introduction of multidisciplinary design challenges across all core courses in each semester. These challenges combine problem clarification, concept generation and prototyping with subject content from curricula such as biology, thermodynamics, differential equations, and software with controls. This paper investigates the use of single and multidisciplinary designettes at SUTD. From pre- and post-surveys of junior college students, designettes were found to increase students’ awareness of applications and learning of content. From 321 third-semester students across six cohorts, designettes were found to increase students’ self-perceptions of their ability to solve multidisciplinary problems.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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