Journal for Geometry and Graphics, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 67 - 73 (1997)

New Directions for Introductory Graphics in Engineering Education

Roland D. Jenison

Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics,
Iowa State University,
2012 Black Engineering, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA

Abstract: Changes in engineering education, fueled by the rapid growth of electronic information technology, have had a major impact on the content, delivery, and role of engineering graphics. The past 30 years have seen a sharp reduction in the use of graphical methods for solutions of geometry problems. The engineering drawing, once the means of control of the design process, has been replaced by the electronic database. Students in introductory graphics courses are now able to observe the total design process and create prototype devices from their models. The laboratories in graphics courses are evolving from intensive drafting and graphical problem solving activity, to computer modeling and prototype design. This paper briefly traces the evolution of an introductory design/graphics course over the past three decades and describes a number of innovative and new activities that have been incorporated. Software for enhancing visualization, solid modeling/rapid prototyping, and design-build projects are among the new directions. The impetus behind these changes is the engineering education reform movement spearheaded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), industrial factions, and professional engineering societies. Engineering education coalitions, sponsored by NSF and encompassing over 70 universities, are the leaders in developing these new directions. The author's perceptions of the impact of these new directions on introductory design/graphics courses in the future are described.

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