Engineering design education: skin deep or is there a need for body?
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Parkinson, Brian; Edwards, Kevin
Institution: IED, United Kingdom
Section: Reflections on Design Teaching
An engineering infrastructure through manufacturing industry is an important means of generating income capable of considerably benefiting national economies. From a general perspective engineering enhances and supports all of our daily lives through significant contributions to medicine, transport, energy generation, water and food supply, communications and entertainment. In fact there is little we do each day that is not supported or aided by the involvement of an engineering input. At the heart of engineering is our ability to design; to anticipate, perceive and solve problems whether purely technical or human centred but mainly a combination of both. Although the successful design of an artefact may start with divergent thinking appropriate to an open approach the final outcome cannot be achieved without the convergent thinking of an analytical mind. Based upon the authors experiences in industry and higher education the paper discusses the problems associated with teaching the next generation of engineering designers so they are able to confidently and reliably meet and satisfy an ever-growing demand for innovative, high quality products and services. To achieve this it is argued that taught primary cognitive skills should include competence in core knowledge, effective problem solving skills, and an ability to think critically, creatively and apply sound engineering judgement. In addition the effective engineering designer needs social and interpersonal skills in order to progress the product through manufacture to market. A generalized model is proposed that may be used as a basis for structuring future engineering design courses within higher educational institutions.ô