Use of a professional practice simulation in a first year Introduction to engineering course

Naomi C. Chesler, Cynthia M. D'Angelo, Golnaz Arastoopour, David Williamson Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The design of first-year engineering courses represents a classic engineering design problem - there are multiple stakeholders with different criteria and constraints and, as a result, there is no single, optimal solution. Our goal was to develop a first-year engineering design course that meets the criteria and constraints of several traditional stakeholders and also provides a platform for studying the ways in which a first year engineering student progresses from thinking like a novice to thinking like a professional engineer. To do so, we developed a computer-based professional practice simulator that can be incorporated into pre-existing first-year Introduction to Engineering courses with minimal resources by course directors with no expertise in an engineering discipline. The simulation provides an introduction to professional communication styles, the engineering design process, library skills and citation requirements, and the engineering disciplines. Importantly, engineering knowledge and skills are not required to complete the two design-build-test cycles in the simulation; instead the emphasis is on managing conflicting client requirements, making trade-offs in selecting a final design and justifying design choices. This paper describes the design of the simulation and preliminary results from its inclusion in a first-year Introduction to Engineering course at our institution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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