ME403: Student Design Project

Course Syllabus for "ME403: Student Design Project"

This course will ask you to apply the knowledge you have acquired over the course of the entire mechanical engineering curriculum.  It draws upon what you have learned in your courses in mechanics, CAD, materials and processing, thermal and fluid systems, and dynamics and control, just to name a few.  This course is equivalent to the capstone course or senior design project that you would need to complete as a senior in a mechanical engineering program in a traditional American university setting. This course begins in Unit 1 by introducing you to the stages of the design process.  We will then focus on tools and skill sets that are particularly important for succeeding in a design project, including design planning, teamwork skills, project management, and design reporting. Unit 2 covers important design principles and considerations.  You will learn about economic implications (you must keep cost in mind while designing!), the ethical, societal, and environmental impacts of design decisions, and professional aspects of design work, including the process of securing intellectual property.  The unit also expands on what you learned in previous materials and processing coursework by covering material- and process-selection criteria and approaches. In Unit 3, you will engage in a capstone design project that applies your knowledge of mechanical engineering.  You will start by identifying a problem to solve using engineering design.  You will then explore the needs of the project, developing specific metrics necessary to achieve customer requirements.  You will engage in both concept generation and refinement, applying engineering knowledge to derive potential solutions to the problem.  You will then analyze the potential solutions, arriving at an ultimate decision to move forward with implementation, analysis, and final design evaluation.  By the end of the unit and the course, you will have delivered a solution to a design problem and created a comprehensive report detailing the design, how you arrived at it, and a conclusion about its ability to meet the needs of the problem.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Apply engineering design concepts and tools to create the initial design of a product.
  • Apply appropriate research techniques to refine the initial product design.
  • Apply appropriate resource-planning techniques in the product design.
  • Apply appropriate project management tools and techniques in planning the design and manufacture of the product.
  • Apply appropriate design codes and documentation in producing the design.
  • Calculate engineering costs of a product by using engineering economic tools.
  • Create designs that are safe and environmentally friendly.
  • Create designs that meet ethical standards and do not violate copyright laws.
  • Create relevant design reports and presentations that meet standards.
  • Test, validate, evaluate, and optimize engineering designs.
  • Apply the concepts learned in this course to understand the design of various engineering products and processes encompassing various technologies.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Have competency in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed these courses: ME001/MA101, ME002/MA102, ME003/MA221, ME005/PHYS101, ME101, ME102, ME104, ME201, ME202, ME203, ME301, ME302, ME303, ME304, ME402, and ME404.

Course Information

Welcome to ME403.  Below, please find general information on the course and its requirements.
Course Designer: Michael Fuqua
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  In particular, the course makes extended use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and complete an extensive design project, broken into individual assessments in Unit 3.  Units 1 and 2 lay the groundwork for understanding how to go forward with the design project in Unit 3.  To complete the design project, you will need to complete the following:

  • Activity 1 and Assessments 2 through 6
  • The Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
However, the design project and various assessment points along the way are of great importance.  Do not skip the actual design project or the assessments, as they represent the spirit and purpose of ME403.  The project should represent the vast majority of your time spent on this course.
Time Commitment: The general course work should only take you about 28 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on the material in each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.
However, the majority of your time will be spent on completing your Student Design Project.  You should expect to spend at least 117 hours on the completion of your design project, although many students find it necessary to devote as much as 300 to 400 hours to successfully complete this project.  Since design projects are variable depending on complexity, there is no absolute minimum or maximum that needs to be devoted.  However, the nature of the design project will be such that you will need to devote a great deal of time and effort in order to properly complete your project successfully.