Engineering students present virtual design challenges

If you think it’s hard to coordinate group projects, engineering students took it to a whole new level.

Students in Mr. Kreyling’s 8th block Intro to Engineering Design class were tasked with creating an innovative product. But there was a twist: groups were not allowed to talk to each other directly.

“It’s a virtual design challenge,” Kreyling said.

Instead of talking to each other in person, students had to communicate about their project electronically, using methods such as email and text messages. According to Kreyling, this gives students experience in collaborating remotely, a practice which is becoming more common in business.

“It helped us practice communicating as if we were working at different engineering firms,” Emily Francis (9) said.

On Friday, May 13, Kreyling’s 8th block and some students from his 2nd block met in the library to present their designs. Presentations included information about the team’s collaboration methods, including “Gantt Chart” schedules and “team norms” that detailed how group members interacted with each other. Also included was information about the team’s product design, such as a bill of materials, part sketches, and CAD (computer-aided design) models of the product. Products designed were general-use items, such as office desk organizers or small candy dispensers.

“It taught me communication skills through email and how important that is,” Francis said. “It works as long as you communicate.”

Kreyling was not the only person grading the presentations. Several other teachers from the OHS technology department were present, as well as several outside guests. Among them was OHS alumnus Matt Fogle, who is currently attending Missouri S&T.

“I think everyone did really well,” Fogle said. “People are really good artists… these people can sketch way better than my class could five years ago.”

Intro to Engineering Design is the first course in the Project Lead The Way engineering track. Students who want to continue with engineering will go on to Principles of Engineering next year, where they will continue to learn about product design and development.