Recent engineering education research has suggested that most engineering curricula does not promote attainment of many characteristics desired in practicing engineers [1][2]. One such characteristic is effective communication with workers in other disciplines. A method to attain improved communication is simulation of workplace situations in the educational environment [3][4]. In an effort to improve communication between trades and to foster a higher appreciation for the other field, a project simulating the working relationship between engineers and machinists was implemented via a joint semester project coupling a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining course and an engineering design course. A significant body of knowledge exists regarding multidisciplinary education for engineering students. Nearly all of the multidisciplinary projects involve one discipline of engineering working with another engineering discipline (i.e. mechanical engineering students working with electrical engineering students). The multidisciplinary work between different disciplines of engineering students has documented benefits; however, the two groups of students are on a similar communication level. By coupling junior and senior level bachelor degree-seeking engineering students with students primarily pursuing a 1 year CNC machining certificate, many communication barriers are encountered that are not seen in typical university multidisciplinary projects. The students from the engineering class were tasked with designing a simple assembly that performs a specified function. The engineering student was responsible for generating a complete set of manufacturing prints. Each engineering student was matched with a group of two or three CNC machining students, who were responsible for manufacturing the parts designed by the engineering student. This type of collaboration closely simulates the design engineer working with the manufacturing shop floor employee in determining how a part is best produced and taking the project to completion by manufacturing and assembly of that part. Data collection methods included student surveys and instructor observations. Primary student outcomes appeared to be; 1) an appreciation for the importance of communication and, 2) greater understanding of the complete process needed to produce a product. The primary difficulties the students encountered were due to communication issues and project management breakdowns. Efforts to address these issues and other lessons learned will be discussed.

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