With the mission of introducing engineering early in the undergraduate curriculum, the freshman engineering course has developed the following goals: (1) Introduce an engineering approach for problem-solving through team projects; (2) Demonstrate the importance of graphical, oral, and written communication skills; (3) Incorporate the skill oriented tasks, such as analysis and interpretation of experimental data, into design projects. Essential skills taught in the freshman engineering course are: graphical presentation including sketching and solid modeling, use of engineering principles with physics and math for analysis, construction and testing of working prototypes, and documentation of the solution. Students are also instructed on how to manage their projects and work in teams. This paper discusses the challenges and opportunities that are involved in instituting a design-driven freshman curriculum at a large university. The paper will discuss issues related to design curriculum development, type and ingredients of a team design project, laboratory preparations, and cost and benefits of implementing the design activities. Although our efforts are ongoing, significant gains have been achieved that are worth sharing with the engineering education community.
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