An Engineering Design Course to Develop and Assess Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Ryan Mulligan, Natalie Simper, Nerissa Mulligan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


A challenging new engineering design course is developed as part of the Engineering Design and Practice Sequence in the Civil Engineering program. This course engages students in a cyclical design process where they plan, build, test, and evaluate a model-scale tidal current turbine. They then use their own observations and analysis to iteratively inform, improve and re-test their design.
The two objectives of this paper are to provide a description of the development and structure of this design course, and to assess student learning. The Final Design Reports were externally evaluated using the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education rubrics. Students also completed a standardized test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment as an objective evaluation of longitudinal learning gains. The Civil Engineering students demonstrated significant improvement in critical thinking, problem solving, and written communication skills.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) Conference June 3-6, 2018 Vancouver BC
Place of PublicationVancouver, BC
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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