A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE TEACHING IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Masen, Marc; Butt, Ahmed Tamkin; Agg, Chloe
Institution: Imperial College London, United Kingdom; Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
Section: Established, alternative and emerging educational paradigms to equip engineers and designers for future challenges
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.106
This paper draws parallels and contrasts between the Design-focussed learning tracks of the Mechanical Engineering courses at Imperial College London (ICL) and Nottingham Trent University (NTU). These two institutions have historically had a different focus and vision. The ICL Mechanical Engineering course has a strong emphasis on theoretical and mathematical foundations. Objectives of the Design modules are to integrate the knowledge obtained in the theoretical modules and to bring this theoretical knowledge into practice. Additionally, the students achieve competence in the applied aspects of Design and Manufacture, including engineering drawing, standards, design processes and methodologies, and workshop skills. In addition skills such as teamwork, project and time management and budgeting are trained. The objective is to develop mechanical engineers who combine a strong foundation, analytical skills and the ability to utilise their knowledge to develop innovative products. At NTU design teaching is approached as a tool to encourage creativity across disciplines, within the themes of sustainability and robust product development. All engineering courses (Sport, Biomedical, Mechanical and Electrical & Electronics Engineering) undergo the same design and manufacturing module with the aim to produce well-rounded engineers who have specialism within their own discipline and have acquired skills and knowledge in areas that are considered slightly outside their domain of study. The objective is to remove inter-disciplinary barriers and silos with the appreciation that problems of the present and future require pragmatic solutions from creative problem-solvers who are not limited by their disciplines of study. Key differences in approach include ICL - Mechanical Engineering only - Mech Eng undergoes specific D&M courses - Focus on including engineering drawing, sketching and CAD, engineering standards, design processes and methods as well as obtaining competence in conventional and CNC machining and workshop skills - Evolution from individual work in year 1 to group work in year 2 and multi-level supergroups in year 3 - Project-enhanced learning to apply and broaden didactic teaching D&M modules culminate in a 20 ECTS Design-Make-Test project in year 3 where several groups of 4 students collaborate in a so-called superproject - Focus is on engineering design problems with a real client, external suppliers and planning and budget responsibility. Projects are application or research driven and aim to utilise theoretical knowledge, also from year 3 elective modules NTU - Different engineering courses follow the same D&M modules - All courses undergo the modules, encouraging inter-disciplinarity - Strong focus on Design processes and methods. Manufacturing is only demonstrated (students don’t actually use any machines), Workshop skills acquired through project-based learning and manufacturing demonstrations , Some focus on drawings - Recurrent themes of group working and collaborative learning - Primarily project-based learning with very little didactic teaching - D&M modules are a build up to a 3- week long Grand Challenge where 1st year students team up with 2nd year students (mixed discipline) to solve a current engineering problem (wireless networking, sustainable development, energy harvesting, etc.) aims are to encourage working in mix teams, across disciplines and year of study This analysis aids towards creating an engineering design education framework aimed at selecting appropriate student-focused pedagogies.