Integrating teams in multidisciplinary project based learning in mechanical engineering

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Integrating teams in multidisciplinary project based learning in mechanical engineering is a 2010 conference paper written in English by Martinez M.L., Romero G., Marquez J.J., Perez J.M. and published in 2010 IEEE Education Engineering Conference, EDUCON 2010.

[edit] Abstract

Mechanical/Industrial Engineering students at Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineering (ETSII) of Technical University of Madrid (UPM) receive an in-depth knowledge of mechanical design and manufacturing processes, but the increasing interaction with other engineering branches, induces the need to integrate concepts which allow students to make an integral design of new products, and thereby facilitate their subsequent integration into multidisciplinary engineering teams in industry. Complex engineering projects are usually carried out by the assimilation of different work teams, which could even be located geographically distant. Collaborative Web environments are proven to be ideal knowledge repositories, as it has seen in Academia and in Industry. The work here presented reproduces the organization of actual engineering projects, and brings it into the classroom. This new way of developing Project Work documentation and discussion has helped students become self-directed learners who internalize specific topics from different subjects, programmes and courses with their own interests, and has been considered as an easy alternative to promote active learning, not only in this area but in other courses. Project were launched in the engineering disciplines, each offering possibilities for the application of specific skills in the following courses: TEC -Manufacturing Technology-, CAD Computer Aided Design-, SIM -Simulation in Mechanical Engineering-, and FAB -Fabrication / Manufacturing. TEC and SIM are applied in the Mechanical Engineering programme at ETSII, while FAB is part of the Industrial Engineering programme; finally CAD is voluntarily employed by students in different semesters and programmes. The new approach is oriented towards inducing collaboration within multidisciplinary teams. This paper describes the experience of collaboration among students and teachers in order to develop multidisciplinary projects, and to reproduce as closely as possible, the team's integration into a company environment. A new methodology based on student interaction and content development in a Wiki environment has been developed. The collaborative server has allowed creating an "out-of-the- classroom" active discussion forum for students of different teams /topics, and to compile an important "project work" portfolio. This experience has been very satisfactory for students and teachers, who have participated with enthusiasm due to the exit of the welldistributed work and the easiness of use of the selected platform (Wiki). The quality of the developed projects has been dramatically improved due to the integration of the results provided by the different teams.

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