This paper addresses the importance of integrating Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software and applications in the mechanical engineering curriculum. Computer aided engineering tools described include Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Manufacturing, and Computer-Aided Analysis tools such as finite element (FE) modeling and analysis. The integration of CAE software tools in the curriculum is important for three primary reasons: it helps students understand fundamental engineering principles by providing an interactive and visual representation of concepts, it provides students an opportunity to explore their creative ideas and designs while keeping prototyping costs to a minimum, and it teaches students the valuable skill of more efficiently designing, manufacturing and analyzing their products with current technology making them more marketable for their future engineering careers. While CAE has been used in the classroom for decades, the mechanical engineering program at the University of North Florida is making an aggressive effort in preparing the future engineering workforce through computer-aided project-centered education. The CAE component of this effort includes using CAE software when teaching stress, strain, dynamics, kinematics, vibrations, finite element modeling and analysis, design and design for manufacturing, manufacturing and technical communication concepts. This paper describes CAE projects undertaken in several of the mechanical engineering courses at UNF in an effort to share creative teaching techniques for others to emulate.

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