This paper describes a methodology of using individual engineering undergraduate student projects as a means of effectively and efficiently developing new Design-Build-Test (DBT) learning experiences and challenges. A key aspect of the rationale for this approach is that it benefits all parties. The student undertaking the individual project gets an authentic experience of producing a functional artefact, which has been the result of a design process that addresses conception, design, implementation and operation. The supervising faculty member benefits from live prototyping of new curriculum content and resources with a student who is at a similar level of knowledge and experience as the intended end users of the DBT outputs. The multiple students who ultimately undertake the DBT experiences / challenges benefit from the enhanced nature of a learning experience which has been “road tested” and optimised. To demonstrate the methodology the paper will describe in detail a case study example of an individual project completed in 2015. This resulted in a DBT design challenge with a theme of designing a catapult for throwing table tennis balls, the device being made from components laser cut from medium density fibreboard (MDF). Further three different modes of operation will be described which use the same resource materials but operate over different timescales and with different learning outcomes, from an icebreaker exercise focussed on developing team dynamics through to full DBT where students get an opportunity to experience the full impact of their design decisions by competing against other students with a catapult they have designed and built themselves. Additionally two further case studies of projects in progress will be briefly described to illustrate the breadth of application of this approach.
Note for Programme Committee – The intention is that this paper will be linked to an active workshop later in the conference programme where delegates will have a chance to use the catapult (in icebreaker mode) described in the paper but fabricated locally as proof of the portability of the resources. The intention is to make the CAD models, DXF profiles for laser cutting and the operational instructions for the 3 modes available as open source for the CDIO community.
Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016