Integrating design research into the classroom: An experiment in two graduate courses

Mary Frecker, Timothy W. Simpson, Joseph H. Goldberg, Russell R. Barton, Britt Holewinski, Gary Stump

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


As computer technology advances, graphical design environments (GDEs) and visualization tools to support engineering design and decision making are gaining prominence and recognition, particularly in the area of multiobjective design and optimization. In this paper, we discuss an experiment in two graduate courses that was designed to evaluate GDEs through in-class student assignments. For this first set of experiments, a GDE was developed for designing an I-beam cross section with two competing objectives. Within the GDE, students were allowed to vary the values of the design variables and view the corresponding performance graphically in an effort to obtain an optimal design based on a weighted sum of the objectives. Methods for evaluating student efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction within a GDE are discussed, and preliminary results from the experiment verify that graphical design environments can improve design quality and overall satisfaction with the design. The importance of rapid graphical feedback in a GDE is also investigated by incorporating time delays in the performance response. The use of graphical design environments to improve student understanding of design tradeoffs in the classroom is discussed, and results from the I-beam experiment are compared with a previous assignment wherein students had to choose an optimal design without the use of a graphical design interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6069-6081
Number of pages13
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2001
Event2001 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Peppers, Papers, Pueblos and Professors - Albuquerque, NM, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2001Jun 27 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrating design research into the classroom: An experiment in two graduate courses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this