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2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, 5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
Engineering graduates today must be capable of much more than solving technical problems taught in engineering school. Despite learning to quantify the performance of certain engineering objects, undergraduate students find it challenging to integrate these elements into basic design concepts through a coherent and systematic design process. To help students develop real-world engineering skills as part of their engineering education, the Mechanical Engineering Discipline in Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) introduced Problem Based Learning (PBL) for Third Year Mechanical Engineering students in 2005.
A recent review of this teaching approach highlighted deficiencies not envisaged when the initial PBL module was conceived. Examples include a significant lack of awareness among students of how parts designed can actually be made and assembled to form completed, functioning systems fulfilling a product design specification in addition to an over-confidence in the ability of their designs to solve the assigned problems.
Inspired by the Japanese concept of Monozukuri, the art of making, significant changes were implemented in 2017. This paper considers the experience to date and shows that students are overwhelmingly positive of the changes implemented and feel they are better prepared for their future despite the increased workload involved.
Delaney, K. & Nagle, G. (2019) Problem Based Learning: A Case Study from Mechanical Engineering, INSPIRE Conference, TUDublin, 9 May 2019.