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Incorporating Basic Systems Thinking and Systems Engineering Concepts in a Sophomore-Level Product Design and Development Course

[+] Author Affiliations
Karim H. Muci-Küchler, Mark D. Bedillion, Cassandra M. Degen, Marius D. Ellingsen, Shaobo Huang

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD

Paper No. IMECE2016-65852, pp. V005T06A040; 8 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5057-2
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Although many US undergraduate mechanical engineering programs formally expose students to the basic concepts, methodologies, and tools used for the design and development of new products, the scope is usually limited to products of low complexity. There is a need to include activities in the undergraduate curriculum that allow students to learn basic systems engineering concepts, that promote the development of their systems thinking skills, and that allow them to practice these skills. This paper describes an initial effort at integrating systems engineering concepts in the curriculum focusing on a sophomore-level product development course. The paper discusses the approach that was used to identify topics related to systems thinking and systems engineering, provides the list of topics that were selected, and outlines the approach that will be used to incorporate those topics in the course. In addition, it provides the results of a pilot self-efficacy survey focusing on some of the topics selected that was delivered to junior students who had already taken a formal product development course. Although a specific course was considered, the same approach could be used in the context of the entire mechanical engineering undergraduate curriculum. Also, the results presented in the paper could be easily adapted to similar courses at other institutions.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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