Teaching multi-disciplinary design: Solar car design


Multi-disciplinary design can be taught in a very general way focusing on methods and procedures that work for any multi-disciplinary design project or in a very specific way focusing on a specific multi-disciplinary design project. The general approach teaches students the principles of how to approach any multi-disciplinary design project but often lacks meaningful examples of how the principles are applied. Focusing on a specific multi-disciplinary design project gives the students a meaningful example of how to apply design principles but they may have difficulty generalizing what they have learned and how it can be applied to other projects. To get a good background in engineering design, engineering students should have educational experiences that are both general and specific. This paper describes a course developed at the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) to teach multi-disciplinary design by focusing on the design of a solar racing car. The purpose of the course is to teach the aspects of a multi-disciplinary design project utilizing a specific example for student comprehension.

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Journal of Engineering Education