Center for Educational Research
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This text describes an engineering design program taken by freshmen at Drexel University. The text documents how the program is conducted, graded and coordinated with the humanities program so that others might conduct a similar program, either adopting the Drexel program or adapting it to their special needs. The design program is part of a larger sequence of three courses termed Engineering Design & Laboratory (ED&L) I, II & III which includes other design experiences as well as computer and physical laboratories. The design program, started as a component of Drexel’s E4 program, has been offered since 1989 in one form or another. It has changed over the years as experience has been gained and continues to evolve. Other schools have explored Drexel’s approach and this text has been supported by the Gateway Coalition to provide documentation and support for these efforts.
A unique element of Drexel’s freshman design program is its close ties with the freshman humanities courses, HUM106, 107 and 108. Humanities faculty are fully apprised of ED&L design program requirements since they are involved in formulating them and have adapted their humanities courses to support students in the design course. Design is a creative process, not unlike creative writing. Research, clear thinking, exploration of alternatives and revision are common to both good engineering design and good writing. Recognition of this has led to a symbiotic relationship between the humanities courses and the design element of ED&L. Chapter 2, by Marijo Makufka, provides a description of the humanities content of the design experience.
Chapter 3, authored by James Mitchell, gives an overview of how design courses might be structured along with the resources needed to conduct them.
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