Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering College of Engineering & Engineering Technology
Course(s) Targeted by this Innovation
MEE 485/486: Senior Mechanical Engineering Design I/II
Purpose and Impact
MEE 485/486 is the Capstone to the Mechanical Engineering experience. The learning objectives go beyond technical analysis by also incorporating the interpersonal skills, communication practices and project management necessary for the next generation of engineers. Students will receive opportunity for improving the practical elements of day-to-day engineering, which will be their next step to professional success after graduating from NIU.
Description of Innovation
The first innovation will be a hybrid approach to the instructional method that combines online seminars with hands-on practice with the engineering design process.
The online seminars will feature engineering alumni and professionals from anywhere in the nation for interactive experience with the students. Rather than just talking AT the participants with story telling, the goal of the experience will be for the guest speaker to incorporate real-time personal response system to engage the student learners.
For the engineering design sessions, I will work with sponsor companies to develop a multitude of projects that create unique depth within the scope areas that will mutually benefit the student team and the client. Beyond those companies with existing STEM or engineering workforces, the course will include opportunities to engage interdisciplinary clientele who may benefit from design outcomes, but not be aware of how to define the problem.
One challenge to this innovation is developing equitable assessment methods and rubrics given the wide variety of project activities that will occur. Unlike grading multiple students on the same prompts, the inverse needs to occur -- the same "grades" need to be awarded to teams of students even though there are multiple types of tasks done by each.