Measuring the Impact of Internships on Design using a Materials Activity
Department or Administrative Unit
Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction
Our research question focused on how previous student experience, like a job internship, affects an ability to demonstrate engineering design skills. Principal student experience focused on prior industrial experience (e.g. internships), but also included annual project participation (e.g. ASME Design Challenge Teams). The scope of this effort included the creation and application of a design activity, resulting in documents that were evaluated with a metric. The activity focused on the effect of material selection and analysis with regard to ‘design performance’. Creating these activities, and using them to assess design skills is the novel aspect of this effort. Two classes (one in MET - Mechanical Engineering Technology, and one in EET -Electronics Engineering Technology) performed the design activity. The ET professors facilitated the activity during a normal class period. After the activity, the professors independently evaluated the team documents using a design metric (e.g. RADD – Requirements, Analysis, Documentation, Drawings). A correlation was found between previous internship experience and an increased ability to design and document this skill. This correlation appeared in both MET and EET disciplines. There were consistent results between the faculty members, using the RADD metric. A conclusion from this work is that participation in internships as an undergraduate positively contributes to students' design abilities.
Johnson, C., Pringle, C.O. & Davis, N. (2013). Measuring the impact of internships on design using a materials activity. 120th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Paper ID #7838.
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