Creating a systems engineering distance learning experience
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This thesis investigated alternative online distance learning exercises that can emulate the learning experiences achieved through the conventional physical hands-on systems engineering laboratory or related team project efforts. The proposed approach uses a modified case study methodology to facilitate a structured discussion of system engineering principles. Instead of a detailed narrative to extract learning points in a traditional case study, these exercises are designed to enable the students to fill in the system engineering learning points in a cultural reference. A series of exercises templates has been created and using the “M*A*S*H”© television program as the cultural reference, and an initial series of exercises have been created to demonstrate the concept. These exercises were created to provide a single reference for multiple exercises during the introduction to system engineering classes. By using the same reference throughout the first class, the students will leverage prior familiarity with the topic to reinforce system engineering learning points. By revisiting the same example in classes later in the program, continuity across the program’s class will be highlighted, and the systems engineering learning principles will be demonstrated in a common cultural reference, in this case a historically referenced fictional environment. The two primary objectives of this thesis were to 1) create and document the process for creating future system engineering case studies using a popular cultural reference, and 2) create an initial set of case study exercises that reinforces the systems engineering learning points. A series of 13 case study exercises have been created to meet these objectives.
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