Engineering students in a project-based curriculum are expected to learn and apply the engineering design process to their course embedded projects. Practice of embedded skills typically occurs through embarking on a new project context provided by an instructor. It is a rare occurrence for students to participate in experiences that break-up the process into smaller chunks providing low-pressure instances to practice. The following work-in-progress describes a practice-then-apply scaffolding approach to teaching engineering design. The engineering design process was broken down into three phases: (1) discovery and ideation, (2) concept development and selection, and (3) realization and experimentation. Each phase was presented to students via a mini-project that inserted students into the design process at various stages of the design. The mini-projects afforded students with opportunities to practice and expand their understanding without always having to start at the beginning. A final project embedded throughout the course provided students with the opportunity to apply what they had learned in the mini-projects. This scaffolded approach methodically slowed the process providing a unique design learning experience with explicit design activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015
Event44th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2014 - Madrid, Spain
Duration: Oct 22 2014Oct 25 2014


Other44th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2014


  • engineering design
  • project-based learning
  • scaffolding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Education


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