Embedding Design Projects into Multidisciplinary Engineering Education
The University of Canterbury has embedded design projects into each of the three professional education years (years 2-4 of the degree) in its new Mechatronics programme. The goal is to create an educational mechanism that links engineering sciences and individual class topics to integrated applications. A series of application-oriented laboratory projects using a Programmable Logic Controller is built into the second-year (1st professional year) curriculum. In the third year (2nd professional), a mobile robotic system design project encompasses electromechanical design, embedded control, software development and system integration. In the fourth and final year (3rd professional), students advance to working on mechatronics research projects that address real-life complex engineering problems facing the industrial sponsors. Embedding design projects progressively into multidisciplinary engineering education has proven to be an effective pedagogy to reinforce students’ systems thinking, hands-on abilities, and cross-course linkage.