A new approach to teaching a mechanical systems design course

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



This paper discusses a new approach to teaching a senior-level mechanical systems design course at the University of Rhode Island. The MCE401 class was split into 9 teams, each with four students. Team members were selected to complement their learning styles. To each team, additional 4 students from the URI Business school were added. In the Fall semester, each team selected one of several different, product-oriented design projects or proposed their own project topic subject to certain requirements. The students were asked to perform a patent search, to critique related products, to prepare a marketing study, to propose a design of this product, and to realize their design using a 3-D solid-modeling software. At the end of the Fall semester, groups competed for funding for activities in the following Spring term that included building prototypes of their design, formulating business plans for commercialization, and applying for patent protection. The new proposed format gave students better understanding and exposure to the entrepreneurial process of product design and innovation.

Publication Title

American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Design Engineering Division (Publication) DE



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