Aligning Engineering Design Education with Accreditation Requirements

Aligning Engineering Design Education with Accreditation Requirements

Sivachandran Chandrasekaran (School of Engineering, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia), Aman Maung Than Oo (School of Engineering, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia), Guy Littlefair (School of Engineering, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia) and Alex Stojcevski (School of Engineering, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/ijqaete.2014070105
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Abstract

This paper focuses on aligning engineering design with accreditation requirements in engineering education. To be an accredited curriculum, education programs must incorporate graduate attributes required by program accrediting professional bodies. Graduate attributes are the required benchmarks for students to attain their specific qualities and abilities within a higher education institute. Most higher education institutions identify a list of expected graduate attributes or outcomes that are incorporated in their educational programs to be accredited by an accrediting professional body such as Engineers Australia (EA), Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) in the United States, and the European Accreditation of Engineering Programs (EUR-ACE) in Europe. This paper evaluates the program educational objectives, student outcomes, assessment methods and evaluation of different undergraduate engineering programs. It assesses how engineering design is practiced and incorporated as an important element of the graduate attributes through project oriented design based learning curriculum aligned with professional accreditation requirements.
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Engineering Design

Engineering design is one of the fundamental processes and activities in engineering and all other engineering activities relate to it. Studying engineering involves not only learning scientific knowledge and technological skills; it also necessitates learning the language, established practices, beliefs, and professional values of engineering culture that makes an engineer. Richard M Felder (Felder, 1988) identifies ‘Engineering Design’ as a systematic, intelligent process in which designers generate, evaluate, and specify concepts for devices, systems, or processes whose form and function achieve clients’ objectives or users’ needs while satisfying a specified set of constraints.

Engineering design problems are classified as open-ended problems that generally have multiple correct solutions (Dym, 2005). A formal systematic problem-solving methodology is useful for these types of problems. Design is a continuous process of problem solving which could involve multiple iterations (de Vere, 2009). The design process starts with identifying the problem. This allows students to search for possible opportunities to assist them in understanding the problem and therefore develop a design brief (Jonassen, 2009). Through research, students can then gather information on different methods, approaches and ideas to allow them to seek new solutions. When a new solution is implemented, a model or a prototype is developed. The prototype is then tested and evaluated against the specifications developed in the design brief for functionality.

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