SAME, SAME BUT DIFFERENT: CORE DESIGN TEACHING IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Barrie, Jeff
Institution: Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Section: Design and Engineering Education Practices
Mechanical Engineering students learn a lot in their first two years of study, building up core engineering knowledge. Courses and subjects range from Mathematics to Solid Mechanics, Thermodynamics to Materials Science. Design is also a fundamental aspect of any reputable Mechanical Engineering programme, as application in the real world is what separates the practice of Mechanical Engineering from Engineering Science. This paper studies the application of design in a number of Mechanical Engineering programmes, concentrating on the early first and second years of study as introductions and applied studies in design. It also looks at the common elements between institutions, as well as surprising differences-linking heavily with expectations from accreditation. The paper also compares the pedagogical approach of UK universities against their US counterparts, in particular those with a strong design philosophy. The learning outcomes of a sample of UK institutions were reviewed to identify key common objectives, and those objectives (as well as professional expectations) were analysed with 2nd year students. The paper concludes that whilst there is evidence of common subjects and principles taught in design within Mechanical Engineering programmes, there should be more focus on user needs and product development to align with established design process models and professional expectations.