SoHE Infuses Design Thinking into Senior Engineering Course

Engineers in the preschool

Design thinking is process for achieving creative, human-centered, interdisciplinary solutions to real problems, big or small. For an engineering student, design thinking allows them to shift from a solution in search of a problem to a recognition of needs and how their capabilities and creatively can address them.

With this idea in mind, the UW-Madison School of Human Ecology and the College of Engineering entered a new partnership to infuse design thinking into the senior engineering capstone course in Mechanical Engineering.

The collaboration has brought the engineering student teams closer to their end users very early in the design process—including a visit to the SoHE Preschool Lab for one team tasked with designing a new interactive exhibit for the local children’s museum. The result was a clear image of the solutions they could construct for real people.

“This thought process advanced the student design efforts much faster and in more effective directions than we have seen previously,” states Professor Timothy Shedd. Professors Shedd and Heidi Lynn-Ploeg of Mechanical Engineering and Dee Warmath of Consumer Science were the team behind this effort, working in partnership with Professor Mark Schar of Stanford University.

See the Results First Hand, December 10

On December 10, SoHE will host a showcase – open to the public – of student design from this collaborative and other sections of the course. Please stop by to see the results and provide feedback on the student work. The exhibit will open at 1 p.m. and be available until about 7 p.m. that evening in the Wisconsin Idea Room and Atrium of Nancy Nicholas Hall, 1300 Linden Drive –  Click here for parking information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *