Teaching Sustainable Design Via Experiential Learning
The engineering clinic at Rowan University's College of Engineering is quite unique in that it spans all four undergraduate years and comprises 20 credits of the curriculum. These innovative design sequences enable engineers to learn through practice and experiential learning situations the many facets of engineering design. The curriculum in Electrical & Computer engineering is quite full with requirements to satisfy ABET requirements but the clinic provides a unique opportunity to provide sustainable design experiences for those students selecting these projects focused on energy engineering, renewable energy systems and sustainable design. This paper describes the many experiential learning opportunities afforded to the engineering students from the conducting of energy audits for schools, municipalities, farms and residences to the design of the largest utility interactive photovoltaic system (3 MW) east of Arizona in the United States. These clinic projects provide real world experiences where the students are called upon to use all their book knowledge, common sense and resourcefulness to make a significant contribution to project goals each semester. Many of these students have gone on to work quite successfully in the very industries in which they developed their sustainable design experience. The paper discusses the clinic sequence from Freshman through Senior year and focuses primarily on the work students performed for the author in his sustainable design clinics over the past few years.
Keywords: Experiential Learning, Project Based Learning, Sustainable Design in Engineering Renewable Energy Systems
Dr. Peter Mark Jansson
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rowan University