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Creating a bridge to simulate simultaneous engineering experiences for senior undergraduate students

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Launching new or improved products to the market typically involves extensive collaboration within and beyond the enterprise. Succeeding in a customer-driven market economy demands the practice of simultaneous engineering. The standard engineering or engineering technology curricula continue to make efforts in providing students with opportunities to engage in real-life projects that simulate simultaneous engineering. However, the educational community as a whole has much to implement in this area. This paper presents an approach used to nurture simultaneous engineering through a unique collaboration between instructors in different disciplines. Student teams, formed from three different classes, conceived problems and worked through a problem-solving model to design and develop solutions. An assessment of these interdisciplinary projects revealed significant learning outcomes and their relationships to the diversity of team members. The experiences of both students and instructors are described and some recommendations made for instructor teams that envisage interdisciplinary student projects.
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Keywords: Interdisciplinary teams; Product design; Simultaneous engineering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL, 60115, USA

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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