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2020 Annual Conference
The ASEE 2020 Annual Conference is now a Virtual Conference.
Free ticketed event
Please note: This half-day workshop is aligned with the complementary half-day workshop “Integrating Systems Engineering into Engineering Education.” One can attend either one or both of the half-day workshops with appropriate advanced registration to reserve snacks and a complimentary lunch. This workshop and the corresponding luncheon are being sponsored in part by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
The complexity of modern technology is making it increasingly difficult for new engineering graduates to understand their job from a single domain perspective much less the more limited perspective of a single sub-discipline within that domain. More employers are asking for students who understand a “systems perspective” of engineering. Unfortunately, the general idea of a “systems perspective” is a very nebulous concept that can change drastically depending on who is describing that perspective. In order to help define this perspective, a core set of technical systems competencies were identified in a previous effort. These competencies provide a basic skill set that can be applied within any discipline and across an entire curriculum. Exposing students to these systems competencies within the context of their discipline enables them to still achieve a high level of technical competence within their discipline, while showing them the relevance and importance of the “systems perspective.”
The set of behaviors that are identified in the technical systems competencies include: 1. Describing the target of innovation as an interconnection of subsystems, but also in terms of the target’s interaction with the larger system that surrounds it; 2. applying a system stakeholder view of value, trade-offs, and optimization; 3. understanding system’s interactions and states (modes); 4. specifying system technical requirements; 5. creating and analyzing high level design; 6. assessing solution feasibility, consistency, and completeness; and 7. performing system failure mode and risk analysis. The field of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) has produced a framework and standard vocabulary for applying these behaviors in order to create physical descriptions of engineering projects. The workshop facilitators have adapted formal MBSE approaches to create appropriately designed pedagogical materials to provide opportunities for practice, assessment, and refinement of these technical systems competencies.
The facilitators represent several different academic departments and have developed pedagogical materials for different academic levels, illustrating that these competencies have relevance to engineering education in a very general sense. The application of these competencies has yielded measurable improvements in student understanding of system-related issues. Design courses in particular have benefited tremendously from the inclusion of models based on the technical systems competencies. The models have provided a framework and vocabulary that can be applied commonly across diverse projects, ranging from small microcontroller-based systems and robotics, to a water heating system for the NAE’s Grand Challenges. The procedure used to create the models helps to provide direction for solving open-ended problems for which there is little background knowledge. The common framework across the different models makes it easier for students to see and apply relationships between the different systems aspects of a project, such as stakeholder features and technical requirements. The structure that these models and competencies provide makes it easier to teach students about the design process and enables faculty to develop more equitable rubrics and assessment tools.
The workshop will be an engaging and hands-on introduction to the technical systems competencies in which attendees will be guided through the creation of various system models that were developed and are used by the facilitators. In addition to learning about the application of technical system competencies in a traditional engineering classroom, the facilitators will present:
• Examples of how the application of these competencies has improved student performance with open-ended problems
• Some of the major concerns and difficulties with trying to introduce these concepts into the curriculum and how to minimize some of these problems
• Assessment tools that demonstrate how much easier it is to assess open ended problems within the structure of the technical systems competencies models.
The format of the workshop will be:
I. Introduction (20-30 mins)
a. Personal Introductions
b. What problems led the facilitators to this effort
c. How the facilitators are using the models
d. Pre and post examples of student work
e. The Systems Competencies
II. Hands-on activities (2 hours)
a. Stakeholder Models with rubrics
b. Domain and Logical Architecture Models with rubrics
c. Interaction models with rubrics
d. Integrating systems competencies across the curriculum
III. Concerns and pitfalls with introducing these concepts (30 min)
IV. Workshop Assessment (10-15min)
Dr. Simoni is an Associate Professor at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. His interests include engineering design, signal processing, analog IC design, engineering educational methods and K-12 outreach.
Assistant Professor at Rose-Hulman
Dean of Innovation and Engagement - Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology