The Syllabus

Introduction to Engineering Design is a required course for all first year students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The primary goal of the course is to introduce students to the nature of engineering design process through real world design projects. Whatever major students choose later, they will inevitably find themselves tackling design problems.

The course is taught in the Botwinick Gateway Laboratory, a computer facility with forty Silicon Graphics O2 workstations. The software available in the lab is extensively used by engineering and computer graphics professionals: I-DEAS Master Series, Alias Wavefront, Maya, MATLAB, Mathmatica and GIMP are available to anyone with an account.


The Teaching Staff


Class Schedule

There are five sections of the course each held 4PM - 6:30PM, Monday thru Friday. If you cannot make a class and wish to attend another section please speak with the Instructor. If you need to switch sections all together, you must speak with the Registrar. As the class size is limited by the number of lab computers, you will most likely have to find someone to switch sections with you.

Instructor's Office Hours: Mondays 2-4 PM

















Lab Schedule

During the normal day the Lab is open any time there is a class in the Lab. And during a class the students of that class have priority and the class instructor holds the right to ask anyone to leave during that time even if there are computers available.

During non-class hours, the Gateway Lab is kept open thanks to the generosity of students who volunteer their time to act as Lab Monitors. You can volunteer to be a Lab Monitor by contacting the Lab Director: Alexander Haubold, ah297@columbia.edu


Class Materials:

There are no required class materials or text books. It is suggested that you buy a three ring binder with at least ten dividers for it. You may also want to buy a 100MB zip disk to later store some of your projects.


Projects:

Toy design will be the subject of the design projects in this course. Toy design is an ideal choice for various reasons. First, no special knowledge or expertise is required, so students from any major can do the project. Second, it is easy to assess customer needs and decide what would make a good toy. After all, everyone has had a lot of experience with toys. Since selling toys requires good presentation and communication skills, working on the project will help you develop these. Last but not least, toy design is fun, which should make the course as enjoyable as it is enlightening.

When doing design, it does not matter what the project is. Whether the project is in toy design or electrical engineering, the same design process is followed. It is the understanding of this process that is the goal of this course.

The final project will involve designing a Interactive Toy -- one that emulates a real-world activity and reacts to its environment in a small electronic package. Preliminary concepts will be due several weeks before the project itself. Preliminary concepts, as well as the final presentations will be subject to peer evaluations. These evaluations will have no bearing on the grades; the idea here is to get feedback and share ideas.


Grading Policy:

Since this is a design class most of the homework grading scheme will be based on straight letter grades, A, B, C, etc. There will be however A+'s awarded to those students who show an exceptional job. Final grades for the class will be represented with letter grades with pluses and minuses, A+, A, A-, B+, etc.

A small group of students who do an outstanding job on their final projects will have their projects be collected and presented to professional toy design companies in hopes that their designs may become a reality.

Bonus credit of +5 points may be obtained on homework assignments by attending the extra help lab sessions offered in the second half of the class. This is highly recommended for anyone receiving a grade at or below a 75.

Any acts of cheating or other unscrupulous activities can and most likely will result in the immediate discipline of the student(s) involved. The instructor has full jurisdiction in such matters and if there are any disputes with any of the instructors decisions they can be taken up with Dean Friedman in 510 Mudd, the Dean's Office.

The credit for this class is divided as follows:
In-class Participation: 10%
Homework/In-Class Activities: 20%
Final Project: 70%


Submitting Homework and Projects:

With 175 students in 5 sections, grading homework and projects is a serious task. Therefore, following these guidelines is crucial:

  • All assignments are due at 4 pm SHARP unless otherwise specified. No late assignments will be accepted.
  • For the final project, 1 week extensions can be granted. You must speak with the instructor at least two days PRIOR to the due time to arrange this. 15 points will be deducted from the grade if extension is granted.
  • All homework and projects must be posted on-line under filenames specified in the assignment.
  • Homework will be graded "as is" as of the due time. Review the web page carefully to make sure all the images show up, all the links work, the page is readable and posted under the correct name.