Using Case Studies to Characterize the Broader Meaning of Engineering Design for Today’s Student
Published in 2011 Architectural Engineering Conference Proceedings: Oakland, CA, January 1, 2011.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1061/41168(399)4.
Numerous organizations have undertaken the task of envisioning the education required to meet the engineering demands of the future. The ABET study EC2000, ASCE’s Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge and Body of Knowledge 2 and the National Academy of Engineering have documented the need to change engineering education from its historical focus on technical content knowledge to include greater emphasis on professional issues and to integrate engineering practice into education. To this end teaching methods such as project-based learning, and the use of case studies are being explored to address these broader learning outcomes. Case studies in particular facilitate telling the stories of professional practice. This paper discusses the use of engineering case studies in design coursework with specific application to third year architectural engineering student learning. Introduction, application and discussion of several case studies are presented in the context of teaching building structural design. Along with the technical execution of system and member selection, computer analyzes and structural detailing that occur in these courses, broader concepts relating to professional roles and responsibilities, design team interplay, the design process, the construction process and professional practice ethics are investigated. The advantages of this altered approach to teaching engineering design are discussed.