DS 82: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE15), Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research & Enterprise, Loughborough, UK, 03-04.09.2015

Year: 2015
Editor: Guy Bingham, Darren Southee, John McCardle, Ahmed Kovacevic, Erik Bohemia, Brian Parkinson
Author: Watkins, Matthew; Crisp, Alan; Harmer, Luke
Series: E&PDE
Institution: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University
Section: Collaboration
Page(s): 075- 080
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


This paper concerns pedagogic research, which explores the process and student benefits of a collaborative ‘design and build’ engineering team activity. The need remains, post Finniston, for students to engage in engineering appreciation activities to fulfil the requirements of the professional accreditation body and the academic learning outcomes pertinent to both knowledge and skills, which often results in students producing small products or components, which require the use of a range of engineering processes. However, students often fail to recognise the relevance of such outcomes, fail to visualise the three dimensional outcome, fail to appreciate the connections between design, detail, manufacture, materials and management, in what is often perceived to be a fragmented engineering workshop activity, limited in scope and lacking in connectivity to the students’ studio projects. Therefore, a fresh approach was taken with the delivery of engineering design and manufacture appreciation amongst the 1st and 2nd year undergraduates. Combining students from both 1st and 2nd year into mixed level teams that had to collaborate on a much larger design and build activity, utilising the knowledge and processes taught throughout the year as part of the activity. The design and build project centred on the construction of an engineered and designed ‘soap box’ racer that was trialled in a local park at the end of the summer team, such a competitive goal helped to focus and drive the students. Teams were constructed of an equal number of 1st and 2nd years whilst female team leaders where recruited four per level to lead the eight groups in 2013 with mixed group leaders in 2014. Students worked in their teams over the course of 6 weeks designing and producing ergonomic rigs, before commencing work on the ‘soap box’ racers, which required the students to design and produce a rigid chassis, fully enclosed bodywork and fully functional steering and braking systems. This paper documents the findings from the project in relation to the success of the project, student collaboration, the knowledge and skills gleaned, and future recommendations and lessons to be learnt. These findings additionally consider the students own evaluations of the project and their individual role within it, through a reflective piece of writing. Additional findings relate to the enhancements of cross level collaboration, which extend beyond the project, including how the first years benefited from the second year students’ hindsight in preparation for the year ahead.

Keywords: Design education, engineering appreciation, collaboration


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