Using computer-aided design to enhance engineering technology education

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This article discusses the use of a computer-aided design (CAD) software as an enhancement to an undergraduate mechanical engineering technology program. With advances in both hardware and software, the technology in CAD is changing rapidly. Although many major software packages in the market are much easier to learn and use, they are more sophisticated in terms of capabilities. It is easy for one to know what the software is doing with visual feedback at every step. This is especially important for engineering technology students who learn best when they can see things and work with them. At Central Michigan University, the CAD software is utilized to enhance students' learning in mechanics of materials, mechanical design and mechanism design. The mechanical/structural problems are used as vehicles to teach proper use of the software and to use it as a way of dealing with various topics incorporated in these subjects. The goal is that the student should be able to grasp the physical problem, understand how a model behaves, check results for accuracy, and know the limitations of the theory on which they are based. In order to investigate the level of success, the instructor often sits with students at the computer to offer advice and monitor their modeling skill and physical understanding of the problem. The focuses of this investigation are on: (1) how the CAD software is used as a visually driven design tool, (2) how the tool allows students to see and increase their understanding the effects of different design parameters, and (3) what difficulties students encounter while using the software.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6555-6564
Number of pages10
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2000
Event2000 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Engineering Education Beyond the Millenium - St. Louis, MO, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2000Jun 21 2000


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