Students Response to Open-Ended Problems in an Engineering Design Project

DS 74: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE12) Design Education for Future Wellbeing, Antwerp, Belguim, 06-07.9.2012

Year: 2012
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: VO, Markus
Series: E&PDE
Institution: DHBW Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Mannheim, Germany
Section: Scientific Methods for Course Evaluation
Page(s): 343-348
ISBN: 978-1-904670-36-0


Engineering Design is not teachable without letting students explore the design process on their own. Therefore students are often confronted with open-ended problems in Engineering Design projects. The paper outlines a course concept for such a project that is based on a strengthened employment of project management methods, formalises roles of students and faculty, tries to engage students in working scientifically with literature, and lets students participate in the evaluation of their work. The students’ response to the course concept was collected in a comparative study. The effect of the concept was measured in a statistical survey by comparing the answers of students working with that concept with others from parallel classes that do not. The results indicate that students particularly perceive that the presented course concept shortens feedback loops, intensifies communication between students and faculty about the learning outcome and affords useful insights into design projects. The drawn conclusions from this study may serve as reference for other lecturers reorganising their project-based Engineering Design courses.

Keywords: Engineering design education, guided self-study, open-ended problems, problem-based learning (PBL), comparative study


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