COMBINING COLLABORATIVE USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN WITH CROWD ENGINEERING: A PROBLEM-BASED LAB COURSE FOR (UNDER-)GRADUATE STUDENTS
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Kerpen, Daniel (1); Juresa, Yannick (2); Forte, Sven (2); Conrad, Jan (1); Göbel, Jens C. (2); Wallach, Dieter P. (1)
Institution: 1: Hochschule Kaiserslautern – University of Applied Sciences, Computer Science and Microsystem Technologies, Zweibruecken, Germany; 2: TU Kaiserslautern, Institute for Virtual Product Engineering, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Section: Educating Designers and Engineers for a Sustainable Future in Design and Engineering Education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.51
Designers and engineers have to cope with adaptability by the very nature of their activities: The development of new products and services is changing rapidly, e.g. products are becoming more and more complex, digitized and interconnected, and employees in these work areas increasingly need to cooperate in physically distributed and cross-disciplinary teams (Eigner, Eiden & Apostolov, 2017; Steimle & Wallach, 2018). Therefore, education of prospective designers and engineers has to address these issues with innovative courses. Such teaching prepares students from undergraduate and graduate level to meet today's complex problems. They learn to think beyond subject and system boundaries, for instance understanding interdependent economic and social aspects of the respective innovation contexts, and they are equipped with these qualities already during university education. This paper exemplifies such an approach by studying the case of a problem-based laboratory course called ‘Crowd Engineering’, a joint remote collaboration by two different university institutions. It focuses on the real-world task definition of designing and (prototypically) implementing a touch screen-based order automation system for meal self-service in a university canteen. The course work of designing, prototyping, and validating follows the engineering cycle, which links students in small groups through sub-processes. The students are enabled to work collaboratively and to link knowledge and skills in an interdisciplinary way through the following iteratively linked three project groups: requirements development, user experience (UX) and CAD design/modeling. Each of the groups has a specific task package that is important to complete the overall course goal. The requirements development project group initiates the process by scoping characteristics through guided interviews with stakeholders from the university canteen operator. The evaluation of interviews is one decisive step for the creation of the development process resulting in a first specification summary that serves as a basis to support further iteration loops between the different project groups throughout the whole project course. This project group also takes on the overall coordinating task of inviting to the iteration rounds which helps the students to get hands-on involvement with agile project management methods and respective software tools. Tasks of the UX project group focus on the human-centered design of interactive input/output devices (UI design and development) and their prototypical implementation. The group’s work promotes the usability and positive user experience of the interface and serves as crucial input for the CAD modeling. The creation of individual components in CAD software fosters coordination and data availability to the other project groups, so that different components can be created by different participants and installed in assemblies by a group coordinator. Last but not least, this helps students to learn about the importance of ensuring consistent data management by supporting PLM software to ensure regular consultation and correct implementation. Course work relies on earlier approaches and pilot projects (Eigner, Eiden & Apostolov, 2017; Kerpen, Conrad & Wallach, 2020). Finally, besides giving a report on the actual course work and its underlying concepts, methods, and software, the paper reports data on the accompanying students’ teaching assessment survey.