Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

The effect of domain distance on undergraduate engineer's design abilities

Henry Banks


Engineers in the work place are often tasked with developing niche systems that require expertise only gained through years of experience. This presents a difficult challenge for engineering educators, as it is impossible to create a curriculum to provide the in-depth knowledge needed to succeed in the many various and diverse domains an engineering student may find themselves in in the future. Accordingly, it is pertinent to foster general skills that can be used in any engineering application, skills such as systems thinking skills, as well as analogous reasoning. This project explores functional modelling, product dissection as well as conventional lectures impact on both students’ systems thinking and analogous reasoning abilities. This thesis judges the value of the described instructional tools with mental models, providing a novel insight of the merit of these teaching mediums. A detailed discussion and conclusion of the findings is found in Chapters 6 and 7.