Using product archaeology to embed context in engineering design

Ann F. McKenna*, Xaver Neumeyer, Wei Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many engineering departments often struggle with meeting "the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context" (outcome h) that is required by ABET. The already packed curricula provide few opportunities to offer meaningful experiences to address this outcome, and most departments relegate this requirement to an early cornerstone or later capstone design experience as a result, making these courses an ineffective "catch all" for many ABET requirements. We address this issue by using the paradigm of product archaeology, defined as the process of reconstructing the lifecycle of a product - the customer requirements, design specifications, and manufacturing processes used to produce it - to understand the decisions that led to its development. By considering products as designed artifacts with a history rooted in their development, we embed context as a central component in developing design solutions. Specifically, in our work we have implemented several approaches to integrate contextual thinking into a senior level engineering design course. Following Kolb's model of experiential learning and an instructional framework adapted for product archaeology (inclusive of evaluate-explainprepare- excavate activities) we have restructured the course to embed specific and targeted reflection, dissection, and analysis activities so that students teams effectively address the global, economic, environmental, and societal factors in their design solutions. This paper provides the theoretical framework of our instructional approach, describes the specific instructional activities we implemented, and results from our pre and post survey assessments that describe the impact on students' understanding of contextual as well engineering design topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2011
Pages697-703
Number of pages7
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
EventASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2011 - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: Aug 28 2011Aug 31 2011

Other

OtherASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2011
CountryUnited States
CityWashington, DC
Period8/28/118/31/11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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