With the approach of the new millennium and the emergence of the global market, significant restructuring of university education in general, and science and engineering education in particular, is taking place with the objective of preparing the students for the new social and economic order.

The paradigm shift and emerging trends in engineering education demand a holistic integration of “soft” and “technical” skills. There is also an emphasis on “educational outcomes” as evidenced by student design projects and other outcome evaluation criteria. “Service-Learning”, an approach that endeavors to integrate “community service” and “student learning” has found wide acceptance in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Implemented in a novel and creative fashion, it may well provide an effective pedagogical tool consistent with the new paradigm of engineering education.

The design project described in this paper integrates both “Service-Learning” and “Design Project” requirements in the first course in “Engineering Mechanics” offered at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), Engineering Program. One of the desired “outcomes” of the course is that the student not only understands the theory as discussed in class but also learns to apply the knowledge to develop and design engineering products useful for the society. The project demonstrates the development of a device that visually reinforces concepts related to Newton’s laws of motion and mechanical advantage in simple machines (lever arms, pulley systems, and springs), in consultation with a science and mathematics teacher in a local high school. In the future, the device will be utilized in the school and benefit education efforts not only at the high school level but also in the elementary and middle schools. It is anticipated that it will also help introduce the field of Engineering to school students.

During the implementation of the project, other learning outcomes were accomplished in concert with the demonstration of application of engineering mechanics and providing service to the community. The student has reflected that the project has helped him in realizing the “role” of the customer in engineering design, developing a clear perception of constraints in space, time and budget in implementing projects, and improving communication skills. It has also given him a better appreciation of the role of engineering in society and helped his inner growth as an individual and a citizen.

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