Design and other fundamental topics in engineering are often isolated to dedicated courses. An opportunity exists to foster a culture of engineering design and multidisciplinary problem solving throughout the curriculum. Designettes, charettelike design challenges, are rapid and creative learning tools that enable educators to integrate design learning in a single class, across courses, across terms, and across disciplines. When two or more courses join together in a designette, a multidisciplinary learning activity occurs; multiple subjects are integrated and applied to open-ended problems and grand challenges. This practice helps foster a culture of design, and enables the introduction of multidisciplinary design challenges. Studies at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) demonstrate learning of engineering subject matter in a bio-inspired robotics designette (MechAnimal), an interactive musical circuit designette, and an automated milk delivery (AutoMilk) designette. Each challenge combines problem clarification, concept generation, and prototyping with subject content such as circuits, biology, thermodynamics, differential equations, or software with controls. From pre- and postsurveys of students, designettes are found to increase students' understanding of engineering concepts. From 321 third-semester students, designettes were found to increase students' perceptions of their ability to solve multidisciplinary problems.
Designettes: An Approach to Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Education
Contributed by the Design Education Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received March 2, 2015; final manuscript received September 16, 2015; published online November 18, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Andy Dong.
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Telenko, C., Wood, K., Otto, K., Rajesh Elara, M., Foong, S., Leong Pey, K., Tan, U., Camburn, B., Moreno, D., and Frey, D. (November 18, 2015). "Designettes: An Approach to Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Education." ASME. J. Mech. Des. February 2016; 138(2): 022001. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4031638
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