21st century engineering graduates should be proficient in engaging their conceptual thinking and analytical capabilities to proffer solutions to societal problems. Various literatures dwelling on problem-solving skills indicate that fresh engineering undergraduates are not adept at conceptualising solutions to design problems. However, the process of conceptualising solutions to design problems has not been well developed, understood and managed in many engineering curricula. In order to illuminate our understanding in regards to how engineering students conceptualise solutions to design problems at various stages of their educational programme, ten fresh engineering undergraduate and ten engineering postgraduate students were interviewed with a view to exploring: (i) what approaches they employ in identifying design problems? (ii) how they determine the relevance of the identified design problems to the needs of their community? (iii) how they conceptualise design solutions to the identified problems? and (iv) how they organise information when conceptualising solutions to design problems? Subsequent analysis of the responses reveals the existence of variation in the design conceptualisation process of fresh undergraduates and postgraduates. It was established that postgraduate students tend to use broader and more complex strategies in conceptualising solutions to design problems as compared to fresh undergraduates. Furthermore, postgraduate students employed experience, information sources, and prior knowledge acquired from various subject domains to conceptualise solutions to design problems whereas fresh engineering students could only employ previous experience and information sources to identify design problems relevant to their community needs but lack the capability to engage their prior knowledge to conceptualise solutions to design problems. Finally, these findings are expected to assist engineering educators to further understand how to develop an introduction to engineering curriculum to equip students with relevant and core engineering analytical skills for conceptualising solutions to design problems.
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 2016|
|Event||44th Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education - Engineering Education on Top of the World: Industry-University Cooperation, SEFI 2016 - Tampere, Finland|
Duration: Sept 12 2016 → Sept 15 2016
|Other||44th Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education - Engineering Education on Top of the World: Industry-University Cooperation, SEFI 2016|
|Period||9/12/16 → 9/15/16|
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