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This week I was pleased to witness and review the semester end presentations from eight senior engineering student teams in Notre Dame’s Principles of Practice course in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences. As part of our unique collaboration with the University of Notre Dame College of Engineering faculty, the professors of this course have invited SAP to co-teach the principles of Design Thinking this semester and next semester.  The student teams presented what is called 10% Design Presentations to their clients, mentors and instructors this week. These presentations reflected the design research they had conducted this semester including user and client interviews. This research informs the future planning and prototyping by each team.

At the beginning of the semester I was responsible for providing an overview and exercises on the Design Thinking process. In particular, I emphasized the importance and methodology of user research and students were provided access to SAP’s Build which has served as a supporting methodology for the course. Today students summarized their user research findings and described relevant personas for the different client projects in addition to preliminary design concepts.

This course is described as follows:

  • The intent of this course is for students to gain design experience on an integrated multi-disciplinary real-world civil engineering project. A portion of this course will involve learning about the design process, ethical standards of the engineering profession, and building leadership skills. Students will begin their year-long senior design project and complete the preliminary phases of the project within their project groups. Oral and written presentations of the project proposal and conceptual design phase of the project will be completed in this semester.

SAP will continue to be involved in the class throughout the spring semester. I will serve as a mentor and speak on key topics to the students throughout the course. We will also provide design process resources by encouraging students to use the BUILD tool where appropriate. A key emphasis in the spring will be on testing and validation of key concepts with users.

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