Preparing students for a collaborative engineering design work environment: A study of practicing engineers Conference

Stockman, T, Kincaid, CE, Heale, TA et al. (2017). Preparing students for a collaborative engineering design work environment: A study of practicing engineers . 2017-June

cited authors

  • Stockman, T; Kincaid, CE; Heale, TA; Meyer, SE; Strong, AC


  • Recent studies within design and engineering education have focused on better preparing engineering graduates to function within an industry design environment. Increased emphasis in this area is motivated by a growing concern that graduates are entering industry with little experience engaging in authentic cross-disciplinary design projects. While guidance from professors with industry experience and teaching techniques such as project-based and service learning are common approaches to supporting student preparation, there is continued need for design education to include a focus on the development of skills to support communication across disciplinary and team boundaries (e.g., shared language and clarity of narrative). These skills, which are frequently thought of as non-engineering work, are as critical to the completion of cross-disciplinary projects as skills associated with conventional engineering design work (i.e., design and technical practices). As a result, a multiple case study was designed to explore the practices of engineers at three different technology companies of varied size and within diverse product sectors. The study focused on how engineers working on cross-disciplinary design teams use artifacts to communicate and how those artifacts affect design decision making. Examinations of the artifacts practicing engineers use supported the development of design principles for instructors to create modules, assessments, and activities for engineering design classrooms. The educational design principles, presented in this paper as 'how might we' statements, include: (1) How might we encourage students to report honestly and accurately about status? and (2) How might we foster the use of documentation in student engineering projects? Findings from this study will be incorporated into an engineering design course in the coming year to further the overall goal of facilitating the preparation of engineering graduates for cross-disciplinary engineering design projects.

publication date

  • June 24, 2017


  • 2017-June