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Abstract: Due to the pandemic, there has been a shift from conducting paper-based in-person exams to conducting online exams. To still be able to evaluate students, a closed-ended test was implemented to verify the skills acquired by the exam candidates. We have developed on Moodle platform an online test called Technical Drawing Test (TDT2) based on graphic questions with closed answers both single and multiple, replacing the open-ended graphic questions of the previous in-person paper exam mode and with the same contents. This article aims to show the method by which the types of exercises were chosen according to the skills to be tested and to present the first results obtained, with the goal of verifying that the new test is equivalent to the old paper-based open-ended test in its ability to test candidates’ skills. The reliability of the TDT2 is quantified through two statistical synthetic indexes calculated by the Moodle platform and comparing the results of the online TDT2 with the results of the paper-based in-person exams.
Keywords: Engineering education | Moodle | Technical drawing | Testing methods
Abstract: The need for innovative products led scholars to develop design methods to improve or at least to support creativity of designers. Among the different alternatives, the Problem Solution Network (PSN) was developed to solve some of the issues that characterize the German systematic approach for conceptual design. The objective of this paper is to report and discuss pros and cons of the use of the PSN for didactic purposes in an engineering design course. Both, feedback from students and teachers’ impressions, have been gathered in about ten years. The key information is then reported and discussed in this paper, highlighting that as for other academic design methods, the key problem still resides in motivating students to better understand the learned approach.
Keywords: Conceptual design | Creativity | Engineering education
Abstract: The promotion of creativity in education is intended to address many of the political challenges and goals for the development of a country, but among all of them the role of creativity in technology and economics is seen as crucial in helping nations to achieve higher employment, better economic performance and to cope with global competition. This study, currently in its preliminary phase, aims to compare the creativity levels of first-year students at a medium-sized Italian university. The degree courses in Engineering Management, Mechanical Engineering, Law and Motor Sciences were analyzed. In this analysis, students’ creativity is measured with the “Forward Flow” test by Gray et al. This test implements a new metric that uses latent semantic analysis to measure the evolution of thoughts over time. Operationally, students are asked to produce a sequence of semantically related words from a given initial word. Latent semantic analysis calculates the semantic distance between words by examining the frequency with which they appear together in a very large collection of documents. Studies conducted on the test, found in the literature, reveal that Forward Flow can predict the creativity of college students. According to these studies, even that membership in real-world creative groups (e.g. professional actors or entrepreneurs) is statistically predicted by scores on the Forward Flow test, even when controlling for divergent thinking.
Keywords: Creativity | Engineering education
Abstract: This work is part of the historic collaboration between the design and methods research groups of the universities of Udine and Brescia. In particular, it presents the results of a survey on the perceptions of engineering students on the online teaching methods activated for the technical drawing courses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 111 students at the University of Udine participated in the survey and the results of the analysis of the responses showed that, in general, online teaching methods are not comparable to face-to-face ones; however, they have been appreciated as they allowed regular teaching during this critical period. Furthermore, opinions and scores from the new teaching methods were more than positive regarding both the availability of the recordings of the lessons and the introduction of generalized corrections of exercises. The authors planned to extend the survey also to the University of Brescia to collect further pieces of information in order to constantly improve this teaching paradigm.
Keywords: COVID-19 | Engineering education | Online teaching | Students survey | Technical drawing
Abstract: Teamwork quality (TWQ) is often associated with project success. Therefore, understanding TWQ is crucial to have better design project outcomes. Since most of the studies in the past have presented a cross-sectional analysis of TWQ, the current work focuses on capturing TWQ in a longitudinal way for a project-based learning (PBL) course. The results showed that the 6 facets differed significantly during the first half of the course than towards the end. In later phases of the PBL, TWQ and team performance were positively correlated than at the beginning.
Keywords: collaborative design | design education | design teams | product development | teamwork
Abstract: Additive Manufacturing (AM) has become an established discipline in both research and education. However, to achieve its full potential AM requires a step-change in design thinking, which makes Design for AM (DfAM) education and training crucial. This paper reports results from the first attempt to investigate the uptake of DfAM in higher education. This research required the development and administration of an articulated online survey, in which educators worldwide who teach AM and DfAM have participated. The results show that DfAM is taught in a considerable number of courses. However, the survey revealed that DfAM is seldom recognised as a distinct course or topic and the relevance attributed and proportion of teaching dedicated to DfAM within wider AM is typically marginal. DfAM is being mostly taught in North America and Europe and is also typically taught in institutions that are research active in AM or specifically DfAM, suggesting the subject has not yet reached maturity or diffusion into mainstream design and engineering curricula. It was interesting to find that currently, the contents of courses do not differ significantly between engineering and design programmes.
Keywords: 3D printing | design education | Design for Additive Manufacturing | survey
Abstract: This paper proposes a framework for the systematic adaptation and digitalisation of engineering product development courses in the event of a crisis. Applicants can use resources of the framework to identify crisis-related boundary conditions that impact the delivery of education and are assisted in determining the necessary level of course digitalisation to respond to the crisis. Furthermore, the framework comprehends a review of modern educational teaching objectives, as well as a table containing tools and methodologies linked to educational targets. These can be used to enhance course design to keep students independently of their learning profiles engaged in study activities and to uphold an excellent knowledge acquisition in a volatile environment. An exemplary application of the framework on a CAD course in a higher education context guides the educator through the processes.
Keywords: crisis education | crisis scenarios | digitalisation | Engineering education | post COVID-19 transition
Abstract: This paper presents the results of a survey carried out with students enrolled in the first two years of the BS in Engineering at three Italian university locations. The study is part of a wider range of methods, tools and aids for the improvement of teaching and learning of technical drawing at university level developed by the University of Brescia, Udine, and Cassino and Southern Lazio. In particular, this work analyses the results of questionnaires related to the basic technical drawing outcomes, taking inspiration from previous research work in this field. What emerges is a positive picture that shows students’ interest in 3D CAD modeling topics such as part or assembly construction, but also their interest in more traditional subjects like sketching and dimensioning.
Keywords: CAD | Engineering education | Students’ surveys | Technical drawing
Abstract: Individual traits strongly impact team composition and the biases arising from them can also impact design activities. One such bias highlighted in the study is the familiarity bias (i.e., a bias that might be present between the two individuals due to their prior acquaintance). In order to detect the familiarity bias, participants from 4 universities who evaluated their peers and rated them for (1) their perceived degree of influence, (2) trust, (3) the amount of agreement they had with the other team member and (4) the amount of agreement the other individual in the team had with them. It was found that familiarity bias exists in collaborative teams. Its impact on the four variables, especially on influence, was discovered. In the end, the study briefly highlighted the importance of studying the factors (like the one revealed in this study) that affect influence in design teams as it eventually impacts design outcome. It was found that the individuals who explore most idea clusters, are less likely to be perceived influential and teams having the most influence produced a smaller number of idea clusters. Overall, the study contributes to understanding the factors affecting human cognition and behaviour in the design teams.
Keywords: Collaborative design | Design cognition | Design education | Teamwork
Abstract: This paper analyses the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in a distributed product design project-based learning (PBL). The paper presents the ICT use of five international student teams during three product design phases: identification of opportunities, conceptual design, embodiment design. General results show that student teams used around 30 different ICTs for both taskwork and teamwork. Students reported that they used previously known ICTs or ICTs properly introduced to them during the initial course workshop. Results also show that team members often work individually on their tasks and use various procedures to share their results. Also, teams conduct some activities synchronously, suggesting the need for teams to have a collaborative workspace. Cloud-based collaborative ICTs (e.g. whiteboard, computer-aided design, document editor, task management) showed huge potential for individual and team tasks. Hence, educators and teams should carefully consider which ICTs to implement and learn, as it might greatly impact the execution of the product design PBL course.
Keywords: Collaborative design | Design education | Distributed teams | Project-based learning | Technology
Abstract: Additive manufacturing represents one of the most promising and innovative technologies of the moment. In fact, it is considered among the nine technological pillars on which Industry 4.0 is based. In particular, it has received a lot of interest from industries, educational institutions and government agencies. For these reasons, it is necessary to develop and train a specialised workforce and to prepare it for these new opportunities. This work aims to investigate, through the completion of a survey based on a systematic review of the literature, the current state of education and dissemination of educational practices related to the training of young engineers at university on the issues of additive manufacturing and related to Industry 4.0. The results show that the introduction of additive manufacturing education represents an important leverage in the preparation of young engineers who benefit from it both in terms of personal preparation and in terms of learning and refining different skills. However, certain aspects, linked to the need to have adequate equipment and a properly trained teaching staff, should not be overlooked.
Keywords: 3D printing | Additive manufacturing | Engineering education | Industry 4.0 | Systematic literature review
Abstract: The use of integrated Computer Aided Design/Engineering (CAD/CAE) software capable of analyzing mechanical devices in a single parametric environment is becoming an industrial standard. Potential advantages over traditional enduring multi-software design routines can be outlined into time/cost reduction and easier modeling procedures. To meet industrial requirements, the engineering education is constantly revising the courses programs to include the training of modern advanced virtual prototyping technologies. Within this scenario, the present work describes the CAD/CAE project-based learning (PjBL) activity developed at the University of Genova as a part of course named Design of Automatic Machines, taught at the second level degree in mechanical engineering. The PjBL activity provides a detailed overview of an integrated design environment (i.e. PTC Creo). The students, divided into small work groups, interactively gain experience with the tool via the solution of an industrial design problem, provided by an engineer from industry. The considered case study consists of an automatic pushing device implemented in a commercial machine. Starting from a sub-optimal solution, the students, supervised by the lecturers, solve a series of sequential design steps involving both motion and structural analysis. The paper describes each design phase and summarizes the numerical outputs. At last, the results of the PjBL activity are presented and commented by considering the opinions of all the parties involved.
Keywords: Engineering education | Integrated CAD/CAE design | Interactive education | Project-based learning | Virtual modeling
Abstract: Planning prototyping strategies for conceptual design purposes is a crucial activity, which needs a clear understanding of the potentialities of the different typologies of prototype. Therefore, to prepare future designers, it is very important to provide the required information in design-related academic courses. However, prototypes and prototyping activities are often taught in specific courses with a major emphasis on the underpinning technologies, but with limited attention on design implications, especially about the fuzzy-front-end of the design process. The work presented in this paper aims at investigating about how students perceive the usefulness of prototypes during conceptual design activities, in order to provide first indications about the gap to be filled. To this purpose, two classes of students participated to an experimental session, and were asked to perform a conceptual design task individually. Subsequently, they participated to an on-line survey developed to gather information about the perceived usefulness of prototypes, in relation to the performed conceptual design activity. Several findings have been obtained from this work, but maybe the most impacting one concerns the different consideration that the two samples of students had about the fidelity of prototypes. Indeed, differently from what recently highlighted in current literature, it emerged that engineering students preferred low-fidelity prototypes. However, other unexpected evidences have been found, which highlight that at least for the considered institution, students still lack a comprehensive understanding of the design-related potentialities of prototypes.
Keywords: Additive manufacturing | CAD | Design | Design education | Engineering education | Prototyping
Abstract: The aim of this work is to study methods and criteria to objectively evaluate Geometrical Product Specification (GPS) and Geometrical Dimensioning and tolerances (GD&T) basic skills of engineering students. To do so, it is important to define who is the examiner, what is the topic of the exam, how to examine, when and why. In particular, for what concerns the topics, knowledge, competences, skills, concepts and abilities should be assessed. Basic knowledge is the easier topic to evaluate in an objective and reliable way, for example using closed-ended questions, but skills like creativity are difficult to measure. Following the principles of Bloom’s taxonomy, a technical drawing evaluation grid has been developed and used by the authors. The grid has eight learning levels, and target knowledge, competences, and skills have been defined for each learning level, then specific tests to verify the target for each level have been studied and developed. In this paper some examples of application of the grid are described and some preliminary results and considerations are reported. In particular, using an objective closed-ended question test, which rigorously assesses the basic levels of the grid, “residual” students decrease in number, and the students increase in number, the test is cost-effective.
Keywords: Bloom’s taxonomy | Engineering education | Engineering students evaluation | GPS/GD&T | Technical drawing
Abstract: Since students attending basic engineering courses are numerous and show different background regarding high school, experience, skills and attitudes, it has become important for educators to assess the level of their prior knowledge. In Italy, in order to access university engineering courses (BS degree level), students usually must take an entrance test; it assesses their knowledge about basic subjects such as mathematics, physics and chemistry, as well as their logical and linguistic skills. However, this test does not refer to technical subjects, e.g., the technical drawing. The two university research units of Udine and Brescia collaborate in developing the Technical Drawing Test-Level 0 (TDT-L0), a test-based method to assess students’ prior knowledge about basic engineering graphics topics like axonometric and orthographic projections, sectional views, basic dimensioning standards, etc. This paper describes the definition of the test contents - the selection of the questions to ask to the students - as well as the way to analyze the collected information and exploit the results to improve the learning and teaching experience of both students and educators. An adoption of the TDT-L0 at the University of Udine is reported as first validation.
Keywords: Engineering education | Prior knowledge assessment | Technical drawing | Test
Abstract: The paper presents the original integration of ICT tools and e-learning platform into an infrastructure to support Project-based learning for a design class that is geographically distributed across different countries. 30 Mechanical Engineering students from 4 European countries tested the infrastructure prototype for the development of an innovative solution in the field of white goods. The results produced evidence about the suitability of the proposal together with strong and weak points of the infrastructure, that can support further development and adaptation into different contexts.
Keywords: collaborative design | design education | distributed design | e-learning | project-based learning
Abstract: This paper presents a learning outcomes-based methodology to produce a summative assessment to use in any course at any educational level. It takes into consideration the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) to define the learning outcomes, Bloom’s taxonomy to define the assessment questions and the QR code to help managing large class size. The methodology has been applied in a case study regarding the technical drawing course of the BSc Engineering programme at the Faculty of Engineering in Italy. In general, the implementation of the new assessment, during the two academic years of analysis, has shown good results in terms of reduction of failures (7% in the first year and 3.9% in the second year), improvement of the weighted average mark (4.6%), reduction of the minimum mark obtained (8.1%), increase of the maximum mark obtained (3.1%) and time reduction of 48% to upload marks to the electronic register.
Keywords: assessment questions | Bloom’s taxonomy | engineering education | European Qualifications Framework (EQF) | technical drawing
Abstract: The paper presents an experimental setup suited to a starting introduction of high school and undergraduate students to basic topics in vibrations, data acquisition and signal processing. The setup is portable, based on low-cost gear motor, sensors and control electronics, with 3D printed custom parts, and it has been used in different education contexts. Its specification, realization, features and usage are discussed in the paper.
Keywords: Engineering Education | High School | Mechanical Vibrations | Mechatronic Systems | Undergraduate Students
Abstract: Motivations for the research activity on teaching methods could be listed as: Institutional duty; reduction of evaluation costs; establishing convenient relationships between teaching, research and publications; developing educational programs for non-academic learners; consolidating learning outcomes. Teaching is the most commonly recognized mission of university, and evaluation has a cost in terms of time and resources, both precious: At least a portion of the exam, the one concerning factual knowledge, may be done in economies of scale. The most of basic technical drawing teachers works with very large classes and faces the dilemma of choosing what to sacrifice among teaching quality, research projects, earning opportunities, personal interests, etc. A possible partial solution to such a dilemma is to work on projects aimed at teaching innovation, so to create convenient relationships between teaching, research and publications. A further consequence of lowering the cost of evaluation would be to make cost effective a more tests and, consequently, to achieve less temporary learning. Not just simple notions but also skills and abilities. In this paper the authors presents a structured synthesis of teaching innovation experiences of a ten-year span. Over time, they were divided into four integrated directions: definition of prerequisites, expected outcome evaluation grids; authentic assessment methods; teaching and learning tools.
Keywords: Design methods | Engineering education | Learning techniques | Technical drawing
Abstract: This paper aims at assessing the impact of inventive design education on students attending a class on Methods and Tools for Systematic Innovation. The study stems from the difficulty to understand how much personal inventive talent influences the final evaluation, especially in a context where students are asked to solve open problems, as conceptual design ones. To overcome the potential bias due to the individual talent, the authors propose to determine the impact of their teaching activity by means of an ex-ante/ex-post correlation analysis. Several cohorts of students along the years have been asked to solve some design problems at the beginning of the course, when no topics have been thought yet. An adapted creativity metrics enriched to map course contents measures the students' performance at the beginning ot the class (ex-ante). These results get correlated to the students' final grades (ex-post) in order to highlight areas where teaching has a stronger impact and those where talent remains predominant.
Keywords: Conceptual design | Creativity | Design education
Abstract: Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a potentially revolutionary technique in industry with claims of high skills shortage in the recent days. It is assumed that full exploitation of AM capabilities can be made possible by a paradigm shift steered by engineering design. Future generations of engineers might benefit from Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), which targets AM potential and enables design freedoms. In this context, the paper investigates AM education for a better understanding of the main AM-related subjects taught in universities. To this scope, the authors gathered 52 syllabi of courses taught in highly-ranked technical universities worldwide that relate to AM. From the investigation, it emerges that AM is the core discipline of the course in 42 out of 52 cases and considered widely as an independent domain to date. As for taught subjects, it was found that design aspects in AM and DfAM are poorly focused on, while manufacturing and process areas are the most popular. This poses a challenge especially to the design community, as the current situation might limit the exploitation of AM capabilities.
Keywords: Additive Manufacturing | Computer Aided Design (CAD) | Design education | Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Abstract: Student competitions can play an important role in education: they promote interest and engagement of the students, as well as of the teachers. In the case of engineering, one of the most challenging contests in Europe is the Motostudent event, joined by the University of Brescia (UniBS) in 2016 for the first time. It is a typical implementation of Kolb’s theory of experiential learning, where engineering theory and application meet in an intensive, ‘hands-on’ team work experience, resulting in a very effective learning process that involves the so-called soft skills as well. The paper aims at briefly reviewing the scope of competitions like the Formula SAE and sharing the authors’ experience in a similar event, the Motostudent contest.
Keywords: engineering education | Experiential learning | Formula SAE | motorbike design | Motostudent | student design competitions
Abstract: The paper presents an integrated approach to suspension design with educational purposes. A dedicated design tool was created to instruct automotive engineering students in the whole process of suspension design across the various CAE tools involved, from early kinematics studies to CAD, vehicle dynamics simulations and FEM modelling. The tool has given birth to a proven design procedure that the authors would like to share in this paper with focus on the educational side, although suspension kinematics design is not certainly a novel subject in itself. The tool includes geometries like the widely used McPherson strut, complex five-link schemes for high-end road cars, and typical racing car geometries like the so-called push/pull rod systems used on Formula 1 and Le Mans racecars. It has been applied successfully to various projects developed by professionals as well as by students, including the latest three Formula SAE (FSAE) single-seaters of the University of Brescia (Brescia, Italy) team. The paper is structured as follows. The introduction describes the role student design competitions play in higher engineering education, and within the frame of the Automotive Engineering course at UniBS in particular. A selection of relevant bibliography on the topic is listed. The Educational scenario section deals with the specific case of the Automotive Engineering course at UniBS and the requirements posed by student competitions, also in the frame of the Dublin Descriptors, and shows how suspension design can play a pivot role in a FSAE project. The A tool for suspension kinematics: requirements, description, solution section presents the software tool in itself. The math underlying the user interface is outlined. Finally, the integration features towards other CAE tools are presented with the related advantages.
Keywords: Dublin Descriptors | engineering education | Software integration | suspension kinematics | vehicle design
Abstract: Transdisciplinary processes have been the subject of research since several decades already. Transdisciplinary processes are aimed at solving ill-defined and socially relevant problems. Many researchers have studied transdisciplinary processes and have tried to understand the essentials of transdisciplinarity. Many engineering problems can be characterised as ill-defined and socially relevant, too. Although transdisciplinary engineering cannot widely be found in the literature yet, a transdisciplinary approach is deemed relevant for many engineering problems. With this paper we aim to present an overview of the literature on research into transdisciplinary processes and investigate the relevance of a transdisciplinary approach in engineering domains. After a brief description of past research on transdisciplinarity, implications for engineering research, engineering practice, and engineering education are identified. In all three areas, the current situation is described, while challenges are identified that still exist. The paper ends with a research agenda for transdisciplinary engineering.
Keywords: Engineering education | Industry 4.0 | Project-based learning | Social relevance | Transdisciplinary collaboration | Transdisciplinary engineering | Transdisciplinary processes | Transdisciplinary research | Transdisciplinary systems
Abstract: Design methods are claimed to support designers but, although they are largely taught in academia, their industrial uptake is still lacking. Many reasons have been identified about this flaw and some potential suggestions have been proposed and discussed in literature to overcome the problem. However, a further evidence is that although many students learn such methods from years, they partially or totally abandon the learned methods in their professional careers. This could partially explain the gap between academic and industrial diffusion of design methods. Literature provides suggestions for improving the learning experience of students but different didactical contexts may need more tailored solutions. The work shown in this paper exploits the problem solving potentialities of the TRIZ toolset to provide hints for improving a course focused on teaching a systematic conceptual design method. A set of suggestions has been obtained together some guidelines for applying the considered TRIZ tools to other didactical contexts.
Keywords: Creativity | Design education | Design learning | Design methods
Abstract: Interactive learning experiences are becoming the standard for today’s ‘tech-savvy’ generation of students and an important issue for research in instructional technology. The design and implementation of higher education, incorporating interactive technologies, can be difficult and often requires high levels of design knowledge. Our intent is to assist researchers, instructors and designers in identifying an effective methodology to design interactive learning contents that use recent interactive technologies, in particular 360° video, and encourage greater student engagement. In this study, 360° videos have been designed and implemented in an engineering program but the design methodology we suggest can be apply in any industrial or educational context. Then, 360° videos have been evaluated by the students as highly immersive and engaged environments that surround them and offer them an increased sense of presence, giving them a 360-degree view of the environment. In this type of video, viewers no longer only look at a single screen, they can point the camera lens wherever they want, allowing viewers to watch the video from multiple perspectives (active), rather than only from the director’s point of view (passive).
Keywords: 360° video | Engineering education | Student engagement | Virtual reality
Abstract: This work presents the development of an integrated framework and related tools for innovation and improvement in the teaching of Technical Drawing. This framework is based on the “Technical Drawing Evaluation Grid—TDEG.” This grid is currently used, by the authors, for the definition and the development of different kinds of tools for supporting both teaching and learning and for the evaluation of Technical Drawing and engineering graphics topics knowledge in general. In particular, this paper focuses on the problems related to knowledge evaluation and assessment of Technical Drawing using online tests. Then, the LaMoo project which is a tool under development for the structured construction of questions for online tests in Moodle environment is presented.
Keywords: assessment methods | engineering education | Moodle test | teaching methods | technical drawing
Abstract: Purpose: Learning systematic conceptual design approaches could be difficult for students who are asked to adapt their intuitive design rationale to more abstract and divergent thinking styles. The purpose of this study is to propose a conceptual design approach with a well-defined reference framework and procedure to help students to gradually move toward concreteness and to explore the design space. Design/methodology/approach: The so-called problem–solution network approach has been taken as a reference and upgraded with a specific framework to manage abstraction levels. A first didactical application of the proposal is described, and specific feedbacks from students have been collected by means of an anonymous survey. Findings: Despite the limited course time allotted for the argument, students’ feedbacks revealed that the proposed abstraction framework is useful to learn systematic conceptual design and to support the understanding of creative design thinking. Research limitations/implications: The proposal has been applied on a single class of MS engineering students in a course where only a part of the available time was allotted to conceptual design activities. However, the received positive feedbacks are encouraging and allow pushing toward more comprehensive applications and investigations. Originality/value: The proposal shown in this paper uses acknowledged concepts of abstraction and function to propose a new integrated framework to manage abstraction levels in problem solving activities. The framework has been implemented in a very recent conceptual design approach based on problem–solution co-evolution, which has been proposed to overcome the flaws ascribed to classical function-based methods.
Keywords: Abstraction | Design education | Design strategies
Abstract: Industry 4.0 represents one of the most challenging themes for engineering design and also for engineering education. At this moment there are few studies in the field of engineering teaching that aim to investigate how the educational needs of students and of the industrial workforce are changing. On this basis, this research would like to investigate which are the necessary skills and expertise young engineers require to be ready for the Industry 4.0 framework. In particular, a questionnaire was developed to analyze this situation. It has been administered to students enrolled in the first and second year of the engineering undergraduate degrees held in three Italian universities: Brescia, Udine and Cassino. During two different academics years, a total of 463 students participated to the survey. The questions were aimed to investigate some key issues of Industry 4.0, and the students’ digital belief and behaviors at their entrance in the university education system. The collected answers provided a picture of the actual situation in these three universities with some relevant considerations about engineering education. So, the fundamental question that authors want to answer is “Are the Italian engineering students effectively ready for Industry 4.0 or do we still work on it?”
Keywords: digital skills | Engineering Education | Industry 4.0 | questionnaire | student skills
Abstract: The very rapid evolution of digital technologies and the "Internet of Things" phenomenon are today some of the most important issues that product designers have to face. Consequently, today designers need to understand and manage these new technologies in order to exploit their potential into innovative products. Therefore, it is recommendable that designers focus their activities on the design of the meaning and on the user interaction of products, in order to create smart products that are easy-to-use and enjoyable. In order to address all these issues, the authors set up an experimental workshop in which students with different backgrounds in design-related disciplines were asked to collaborate to the design of a domestic product that allows new tangible interaction with live-data streams. In addition, students were asked to develop the functioning prototype of their design solution, by using rapid prototyping and physical computing techniques. The students were able to develop working prototypes of products that are capable of communicating information derived from real-time data streams. Some of the most representative results of this workshop are presented in the paper.
Keywords: 3D printing | Design education | User centred design
Abstract: Design education is a highly debated topic since decades, yet the focus on multi-disciplinary classes has gained a paramount importance due to the multi-disciplinary nature of today's global challenges. This paper contributes to the discussion through the description of the Design Methods and Processes course at Alta Scuola Politecnica, an original educational experience jointly developed by Politecnico di Milano and Politecnico di Torino with a highly selected number of MS students from Architecture, Industrial Design and all branches of Engineering. After positioning this discussion with respect to the relevant literature, the paper describes the educational model of this course and the reflections made after 5 years of implementation. Students show to catch the essence of the design workflow thanks to the educational path structured as a problem-analysis-and-solving process. However, dealing with multi-disciplinary task demands a careful composition of students' teams since it can positively/negatively affect the learning experience as well as students' motivations.
Keywords: Design education | design practice | educational background | multi-disciplinary design | team working
Abstract: In the twenty-first century, meeting our technological challenges demands educational excellence, a skilled populace that is ready for the critical challenges society faces. There is widespread consensus, however, that education systems are failing to adequately prepare all students with the essential twenty-first century knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life, career, and citizenship. The purpose of this paper is to understand how twenty-first century knowledge and skills can be appropriately embedded in engineering education finalised to innovative product development by using additive manufacturing (AM). The study designs a learning model by which to achieve effective AM education to address the requirements of twenty-first century and to offer students the occasion to experiment with STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts. The study is conducted using the quality function deployment (QFD) methodology.
Keywords: additive manufacturing | and mathematics | engineering | engineering education | learning/training model | Quality function deployment | science | technology | twenty-first century skills
Abstract: Most universities have introduced 3D CAD education and training in their engineering courses in recent years so as to respond to the actual needs of the industrial world for high-skilled design engineers. It is well demonstrated that the effectiveness of such courses depends on teaching an effective design approach rather than training for the use of specific commercial CAD tools. Since open-source CAD software has emerged in many fields as a promising alternative to commercial off-the-shelf systems, the present paper investigates the possibility for universities to adopt open-source instruments to effectively support their educational goals. Open-source 3D CAD systems are quantitatively evaluated by an original Compliance Index which considers the design tools typically used to model and draw industrial products and their weights in accomplishing the design tasks. The results obtained for the evaluation of a set of open-source CAD systems are presented and critically discussed.
Keywords: 3D CAD | CAD teaching | Open source 3D CAD | Software evaluation
Abstract: This work presents an interactive self-learning tool named Technical Drawing Learning Tool-Level 2—TDLT-L2—for teaching manufacturing dimensioning to engineering students. The tool was designed for the students enrolled in the first year of the Bachelor in Management and Mechanical Engineering of the Universities of Brescia and Udine. It consists of a simple interactive tool, based on video and drawing animations, aimed at demonstrating the connection between real and simple machining processes and workpiece dimensions on technical drawing. TDLT-L2 is currently available in two versions: as a standalone application for Windows or Android based operating systems and as a set of interactive PDF documents. It was conceived as the first module of a package of tools that will be developed, based on the learning levels proposed in the Technical Drawing Evaluation Grid—TDEG. A preliminary evaluation of TDLT-L2 effectiveness was done involving the Management and Mechanical engineering students of Udine in some dimensioning exercises. The statistically considerations done on the obtained results confirmed the validity of the tool as a self-learning instrument with an average increase of marks of about 8.8%. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 24:519–528, 2016; View this article online at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/cae; DOI 10.1002/cae.21728.
Keywords: engineering education | manufacturing dimensioning | multimedia application | self-learning tool | technical drawing
Abstract: According to several literature sources, Product Planning is acknowledged as a primary driver of future commercial success for new designed products, and it is schematically constituted by the identification of business opportunities and the selection of most promising alternatives. Despite the recalled relevance of Product Planning, it emerges that a marginal quantity of companies have adopted formal methods to carry out this task. The paper attempts to provide a major understanding about such a limited implementation of Product Planning techniques and other open issues emerging from the analysis of the literature concerning the initial phases of engineering design cycles. The presented study investigates the claimed benefits of methods described in the literature, the level to which such tools are diffused through educational programs in Technical Institutes, the expectations and the demands of a sample of enterprises with respect to new tools supporting Product Planning. It emerges that, whereas existing methods strive to fulfil relevant properties according to the perception of the companies, limitations come out in terms of the transfer of the proposed techniques and their perceived reliability.
Keywords: Design education | Fuzzy front end | Idea generation | Industrial survey | New product development | Review of design methods
Abstract: Several studies report that many novice engineers result to be skilled in CAD but poor in knowledge of the basics, visualization and spatial skills and ability in freehand sketching. There is a debate on if such lack of fundamentals dues or not to the increasing role of CAD and the decreasing role of manual drawing in the basic courses of engineering graphics. This study aimed to investigate the issues related to the use of CAD and manual drawing in teaching engineering graphics fundamentals by a review of the literature of the Engineering Design Graphics Journal and the International Journal of Technology and Design Education from 2000 to date. It was found that current students: have a lower initial level of knowledge and experience; have little chance to develop sketching and visualization skills if trained only by CAD; and their assessment usually focuses more on CAD skills than on the knowledge of the basics. Solutions proposed to such issues are: introductory courses of manual drawing at college and high schools; assessment of students' initial skills; and tests more focused on the knowledge of the rules and basics of engineering graphics language.
Keywords: Computer aided design (CAD) | Design education | Design learning | Engineering drawing | Pedagogy
Abstract: It is commonly recognized that the definition of product requirements is an essential step of any design process. Many techniques have been proposed for building a suitable design specification, i.e. for defining a set of requirements characterized by validity, completeness, operationality, non-redundancy, conciseness and practicability. Among them, several methods and tools primarily aim at populating the design specification: some of them focus on very specific objectives but are applicable in many different domains (e.g., Design for X). Others are domain specific, but try to cover the entire scope of the specification (e.g., checklists and standards). This paper describes an abstract-level checklist for requirements definition, suitable for any field of application, aiming at producing exhaustive lists of requirements. A previous experimental application with Mechanical Engineering students clearly showed that the proposed multi-purpose checklist allows populating design specifications more complete than those defined without any support. This paper follows up demonstrating the capability of the novel checklist against the checklist for conceptual design by Pahl and Beitz.
Keywords: Design education | Design methods | Design specification | Requirements | Requirements checklists
Abstract: ABSTRACT: The paper describes an interactive Finite Elements Analysis (FEA) tool that aims to improve the learning of mechanical behavior of materials in industrial engineering schools. We implemented a “user in the loop” approach where students can explore the mechanical behavior of virtual specimens selected from a library of standard elements (cantilever beam, IPE beams etc.). The users can apply forces or displacements interactively by mouse or haptic device, and visualize and “feel” the structures stress configurations. We extended our previous work and compared this novel approach with respect to traditional FEA learning techniques. A test with twenty engineering students showed that learners following the interactive approach are faster in completing the given assignment showing a reduced error rate.
Keywords: engineering education | haptics | real-time finite element analysis | virtual reality
Abstract: In the field of Ambient Assisted Living, the present research proposes a combined User-Centred Design approach that exploits the strengths of systematic and participatory design methodologies with the final aim to design an assistive device to solve mobility problems of elderly people in crowded environments. The application of the approach allows research to investigate which information gathering technique is more effective for this context of use and to find out competitive AAL solutions for specific target users. The experimentation is carried out by students attending an industrial design course. An experimental protocol is arranged to compare the outcomes from the different stages of the approach application. The scientific contribution of the present work regards both the presented results, that confirm how much effective is ethnography in respect to role-playing and traditional desk research in case of products oriented to special target users, and the educational experiences in the field of AAL.
Keywords: Ambient assisted living | Design education | Evaluation | Requirement gathering | User centred design
Abstract: Concept map are not a new phenomenon in engineering education and are nowadays used to enhance "meaningful learning." In literature a lot of works on the use of the concept maps in education exist, but not many within the "interactive" context. This study contributes to expand the framework of research on the development of web-based 3D interactive concept maps. They incorporate web-based 3D interactive images that support the learning of abstract and difficult topics in Engineering drawing course, motivating the students and increasing their attention. The effects of different learning strategies (2D concept mapping vs. web-based 3D interactive concept mapping) on the learning outcomes and on the spatial ability are investigated. The results of this study shows that Web-based 3D interactive concept maps compensates spatial ability deficits, that is, helps students who have low spatial ability to build an effective mental representation of the learning content.
Keywords: concept map | engineering education | interactive learning | spatial ability | web3D
Abstract: The research presented in this paper aims at evaluating how simple and intuitive are the learning, understanding, and application of some creativity enhancement methods by non-expert users in an engineering design context. The three methods under investigation are TRIZ, C-K theory and SCAMPER. To evaluate the training experience the authors set an evaluation framework based on Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Evaluation and used a questionnaire to collect students' experiences. The results show that the understanding and the consequent application of the three creativity enhancement and idea generation methods are judged positively by the participants. In particular, TRIZ method represents the most appreciated at all, while SCAMPER stands out for its intuitiveness and easiness of use. Finally, C-K theory is revealed as the newest one and very promising for future developments. © 2014 Springer International Publishing.
Keywords: C-K theory | engineering education | SCAMPER | training evaluation | TRIZ
Abstract: Modern corporations, institutions, universities and schools consider e-education as a way of educating larger groups of students in less time and of reducing the use of various resources. Since setting up a web-system for e-education requires a significant amount of time, as well as the necessity of having a computer and other resources, the assessment of the goals and desired effects of the online system should be made in the preparation phase. It is important to highlight that only putting course contents on the web, without using appropriate pedagogical models and principles, without appropriate means of communication between participants and instructors and without the use of modern information technologies to present the learning content is not enough to fulfil educational goals. It should be noted that, after the substantial initial investment and excitement about the possibilities of e-education, many sources of difficulty and dissatisfaction regarding online learning have emerged. Most e-learning studies propose possible improvements in course material, with little attempt to explore the learners' dimension, context, pedagogical considerations or technology aspects. In this article, we have analysed the aspects that need to be considered when designing an e-learning platform for engineering education and we have proposed a methodology, based on the Quality Function Deployment approach, useful for the preparation phase of distance learning systems. Finally, we have explained the impact of new information technologies (Web3D technologies) on online engineering education and highlighted how these tools have been implemented in the e-learning platforms for mechanical engineering that we have developed.
Keywords: distance education | engineering education | interactive learning environments | lifelong learning | pedagogical issues | technology integration/innovation
Abstract: In engineering colleges, first-year students come from different kinds of high school and have different technical backgrounds. In engineering graphics courses, the weaker students are the ones entering with a lower technical background. Such students are less motivated and have generally difficulties in keeping high their attention level during the lessons. In this study, the use of a webcomics structured in graphic novels was experimented as a motivational support in an engineering graphics course. Sixty nine students of a class taught by using webcomics as support and 47 students of a class taught traditionally were classified according to the kind of their high school of provenience: technical; scientific; non-technical and non-scientific. The findings showed that in the class where webcomics were used, students from non-technical and non-scientific high school scored a higher level of attention compared to others. The teacher who used the webcomics commented it an effective tool to encourage and stimulate weaker learners to actively participate to the lessons and the majority of students agreed such tool was stimulating. At the same time, some students considered the webcomics representation of engineering graphics topics as too far from the reality. It is concluded that the use of webcomics structured in graphic novels is a proficient way to better motivate weaker students to arouse and keep their attention at a high level during engineering graphics lessons. © Maxwell Scientific Organization, 2014.
Keywords: Comic strips | Engineering education | Graphic novels | Teaching | Technical drawing
Abstract: The importance of methodologies and computer-aided tools for problem structuring and solving has been demonstrated by various research activities since the 1970s. The need for systematizing the first phase of problem solving activity has led the authors to the development of a dedicated procedure for problem reformulation and the implementation of a dedicated software package, named BOB-UP®. It aims at driving the user to reformulate the initial problem using a dialogue-based system hiding an accurate cause-effect analysis. BOB-UP® provides three tools (Ill-Balls diagram, Fight diagram, and a linguistic composer) that guide step-by-step the user to the right problem formulation. This paper presents the experimentation of such CAI tool within two courses at the University of Bergamo. The first is a compulsory course for the master degree in Mechanical Engineering, while the latter is an elective course for the master degree in Mechanical Engineering and Management Engineering. The experimentation has been carried out with 56 students sub-divided into three groups according to their competences on problem structuring and solving and technical background. We considered five problems related to industrial applications coming from different technological domains to demonstrate the independence of the results from the specific industrial area. Finally, results are discussed presenting advantages and drawbacks. They have been evaluated according to specific criteria to evaluate its usability and efficacy; in addition, students were asked to fill a questionnaire to comprehend the perception they have on BOB-UP® usefulness and potential. © 2013 TEMPUS Publications.
Keywords: BOB-UP® | CAI tools | Cause-effect analysis | Engineering education | Problem structuring | TRIZ
Abstract: The current particular critical moment for the Western industry, and the introduction of information technologies have profoundly changed the product development process. One of the most important modifications occurred is the integration of the two traditional fields of product design and product engineering into the new concept of industrial Design &Engineering. The consequent shift and the extension of the designer's area of expertise concerning the product development process have led to amplify his typical knowledge: both more and more technical knowledge, and also knowledge more focused on conceptual issues and creativity. This trend is fostered by the intensive use of computer systems and also by various Design &Engineering courses, where it has been possible to experimentally observe the difficulty for students to learn the necessary body of knowledge and to manage a wider product development process. However, the multidisciplinary approach to the product development process and to the related education issues are still based on tools and methods developed for a specific kind of user, or usually used in an unarranged way. The research presented in this paper aims at defining the guidelines for developing an integrated framework to support the Design &Engineering education and the multidisciplinary design process based on a structured integration of knowledge and tools currently used by the two main areas of reference. The paper presents the guidelines for the integrated framework and the experimental activities used for the framework validation. These activities have allowed the authors to check the framework usability during team design activities and also to verify its effectiveness in improving students' learning capabilities. Some elements derived from the analysis of the experimental data demonstrate that both students and professional designers can use the framework to assist them throughout the design process and that the knowledge learning related to the project is fostered. © 2013 TEMPUS Publications.
Keywords: Design & engineering Design process | Design education | Multidisciplinary design
Abstract: Nature is a starting point to analyse and to conceive solutions for complex systems, and a reservoir of inspiration to provide innovative answers to the product development as well as to the interaction between man and nature: this is the first key idea that the authors would like to transmit to the new generations of engineers and designers. Furthermore, it is also important to embed the development of technology within a sustainable development frame-work: from this point of view the authors are encouraging students to develop a particular case-study.
Keywords: Bionics | Design education | Theory of technical systems | TRIZ
Abstract: Achieving a strict correlation between academic and industrial world is an important development direction in the engineering education field. The authors' first step along this path was the activation of several courses on methodical design, and the second step was the activation of a tight cooperation with industries, so that students could develop their thesis facing up to real problems. The fundamental advantages of this approach are: a) accustom the students to follow a design method; b) increase students' ability to find out and to consider "all" the possible solutions for a given problem, with the scope to choose the "best" one; c) increase students' ability to evaluate solutions' behaviour; d) possibility for the students to follow the production of the designed or modified machine. From the educational point of view, the two important aspects of this particular work are: a) The cooperation with the industrial world: the design was developed in cooperation with a company specialized in die-cutter machine production. The company realised and now produces a new machine based on this work. b) The application and integration of several design methods.
Keywords: Design education | Design methods | Die-cutting machine
Abstract: The overall aim of this paper is to present a web-based system to simulate the process of aircraft design in a competitive environment. The main purpose is to provide a tool to introduce design and simulation problems in engineering-design education. The structure of the system is a game where a group of teams carry out the design of an aircraft trying to optimize product performances and minimizing product and development costs. The web-based framework is a three-tier system developed in a pure Java platform using the JavaServer Faces technology for the presentation layer and Hiber-nate/HSQL for the persistence layer.
Keywords: Competitive environments | Engineering education | Lean simulation | Product design | Web-based simulation
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