Nov 4, 1998
Journal name not available for this finding
Summary form only given. A number of schools across the country associated with the NSF coalition program have incorporated the study of the artifacts and processes practised by others into their engineering undergraduate programs. Broadly labeled, this is "case-based learning". One "twist" to case-based learning has been to have the basis of the case study be the hardware itself: for example, Sheppard initiated a course in the fall of 1990 for freshman- and sophomore-level undergraduate engineering students called "Mechanical Dissection" with NSF Synthesis Coalition sponsorship. The course was created to help students become familiar with the machines/mechanisms that surround them in order to help them gain confidence in their ability to work with, build up and manipulate them. Another variation of the dissection approach is offered at North Carolina State in the "Product and Process Engineering Laboratory" where students dissect products while playing the roles of user, assembler and engineer, in series. Still another variation exists at UC-Berkeley, where students dissect products in conjunction with a multimedia case study that offers perspectives of the engineers who actually designed the product and explanations of design details. These and other variations of the "product dissection" approach to exposing students to hardware and design issues are demonstrated. A discussion on the advantages and limitations of this pedagogy is given.