A common project assignment in engineering courses is a complete design project, from defining the problem through presentation of the design .  A complete design project requires students to simultaneously focus on project-management tasks, design-process tasks, and business-related tasks.  A complete design project is an authentic task in engineering, yet that can overwhelm students.  An alternative is to assign parts or sub-tasks of a complete project to better focus students' attention on particularly difficult sub-tasks.   

Ideas for Learning Tasks (i.e., Assignments) that Support Assessment

  • Types of design project
    • "Clean sheet" design OR redesign
    • Product design AND/OR process design
    • Hardware design  AND/OR software design 
    • Individual work OR teamwork
  • Possible formats for student work
  • Sub-tasks in design (assign one or more of the following)
    • Define the problem, including gathering information
    • Write specifications and requirements for detailed design
    • Generate alternatives using a process of synthesis & creativity
    • Develop selection criteria
    • Evaluate design alternatives, based on criteria
    • Select a design concept for further development 
    • Write a test plan for prototypes
    • Plan the manufacturing process
    • Make dimensioned drawings
    • Select materials
    • Make fully documented calculations, where necessary
    • Make a prototype product or process
    • Present a concept or detailed design to stakeholders
  • Sub-tasks in project work (assign one or more of the following)
    • Write a plan for the tasks involved in conducting the project
    • Create a schedule with task assignments for the project
    • Make a budget for the project, providing rationale
  • Sub-tasks in the business aspects of design (assign one or more of the following)
    • Assess market requirements, including key features and target selling price
    • Write a business plan, including initial investment (development costs), pricing, and return on investment

Making Scoring/Grading Useful for Assessment