We have been offering conceptual design courses to graduate level mechanical engineering students. The courses are taught at three different graduate schools; Kyushu Institute of Technology, Sophia University, and The University of Tokyo. The mechanisms of course offering are different among these three schools, however, the underlying theme is the same. That is to identify a problem that the students want to solve and work in groups to come up with creative solutions. The students first go through sessions to sharpen their sense of feeling inconveniences. We then emphasize the importance of properly stating the functional requirement for their yet-to-build solution. Engineering students often struggle with this first stage. Once they set the goal, the course teaches brainstorming, Design Record Graph, and prototyping. Last year, we experimented with a final assignment of producing posters of their new products. The posters were collected and presented at an adult conference. The conference participants cast votes for their preferred posters. The top three winners received book cards to purchase books. This poster competition gave the students high incentives to produce good design proposals. The winning factor was not just technical supremacy but the votes were strongly affected by the solution presentation on the posters. It provided a good opportunity to teach engineering students that technology alone is not always the most important factor in winning businesses.
Effect of Providing an Opportunity for Competition in Design Education
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Iino, K, & Nakao, M. "Effect of Providing an Opportunity for Competition in Design Education." Proceedings of the ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 5: Education and Globalization. Tampa, Florida, USA. November 3–9, 2017. V005T06A020. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2017-70698
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