What Is Me310: A Case Study Of Engineering Education

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ME310: a case study of engineering design thinking education
Zito Tseng, and Shih-Chung Kang zitotseng@ntu.edu.tw, sckang@ntu.edu.tw
Department of Civil Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Abstract: Engineering education has been substantially changing in the past 100 years. Among these changes, design thinking has created great impact to this field. ME310 is a project-based engineering design thinking course originated in Stanford University in 1967. In this course, students learn the design process by working on real world design challenges proposed by industry partner. In 2014, ME310 in taught in Taiwan for the first time. Over nine intensive months the course taught the students about how to approach a problem, how to bring
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To create better teaching and learning experience, and to meet current needs, there are some ongoing shifts in engineering design, including: emphasizing the design aspect of engineering; applying social-behavioral sciences research result to education; integrating information technology in education. (Froyd, 2012) Among these shifts, one important concepts, design thinking, is especially crucial in changing engineering education. (Razzouk, 2012)

Design thinking
Design thinking is regard as a mindset that can improve the problem-solving process and outcome. There are several origin of the term design thinking, and currently there is no shared definition of design thinking. Some people claim design thinking as a design process consisting multiple steps. Some consider design thinking to be not only method and process, but also a combination of action and mindset. Despite some differences in opinion, most people agree that design thinking is a human-centered way of solving problem and produce creative outcomes. (Kirjavainen, 2011, Johansson, 2013, Kimbell, 2009)
Design thinking process contains three iterative stages: inspiration, ideation, and implementation (Brown, 2008). These three stages can be further break down to five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test. (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, 2010).
Empathize: Through observation and interview, understand the user within specific
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Therefore, the are 8 rules for brainstorming in ME310 (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, 2013): "Defer judgment; Encourage wild ideas; Build on the ideas of others; Stay focused on the topic; One conversation at a time; Headline your idea; Be visual; and Go for quantity."
Brainstorming that follows these rules is highly productive, producing large quantity of possible solution in a short period of time. The purpose is to go for quantity (>100 ideas), so students can go beyond the obvious solution, and discover something innovative.

Fast prototyping
In ME310, a project made tens of prototypes, including critical function prototype, critical experience prototype, dark horse prototype, funktional prototype, functional system prototype. iterating every 1-3 weeks. The students are encourage to
1. Identify the question you want to answer with this prototype.
2. Make low-resolution prototypes. Don't put into too much effort and time in one prototype, so you can tryout different ideas without committing to a certain direction.
3. Body-storming. Building prototype and interacting with prototype will give you new

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