THE ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS: AN “ENGINEERING PHILOSOPHY” COURSE AT THE GRADUATE LEVEL

Ron Britton,, Douglas Ruth, Aidan Topping, Marcia Friesen, William Degagne, Glenys MacLeod

Abstract


Since 2003, 117 students from all departments
in the Faculty, and beyond, have enrolled in a discussionbased
graduate course on “engineering philosophy.” The
course is non-traditional in both content and process.
Discussions are based on student input. Four books
and a series of professional sources set the tone for each
of five segments. Three hour long classes are held every
second week over two terms. Student input is compiled
and shared prior to each class. A technical
communications specialist is part of the academic
team. The specialist supports students’ growth in
communicative competence beyond the undergraduate
level.
Since the course falls outside the engineering norm,
this paper addresses how a less rigid, more philosophical
and wide-ranging, discussion-based course enhances
students’ ability to approach engineering as both a
functional discipline and social design model.

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