A freshman course is offered by the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). This course is a core course for the second semester of the freshman year. The course is divided into four segments where each segment addresses one area of mechanical engineering. The course is designed to facilitate the improvement of design activities from one semester to another based on student feedback, the needs of the mechanical engineering curriculum and contemporary issues important to the mechanical engineering profession.
The course is described in this paper along with the student’s response to specific questions related to the design projects. Specifically, feedback from a student survey administered at the end of the course is presented. This survey includes the student’s perception of their understanding of the topics studied, value of the activities for their future education, and their enjoyment of the activities. Comments received from the survey are also included and are used, along with instructor observations, to make improvements to the learning outcomes.
The course resources needed including lab space, computer software, tools, and teaching assistants are also discussed, as well as the course organization. A sample 16-week schedule is provided.