Type of Powerful Assessment - Product Analysis


The Engineering Ideas Clinic™ (https://uwaterloo.ca/engineering-ideas-clinic/) at the University of Waterloo supplements a traditional engineering curriculum with open-ended activities designed to spark student self-learning and exploration…
We focus on design since this represents the pinnacle of engineering practice and integrates a full range of technical and non-technical knowledge, skills and abilities. Examples of Engineering Ideas Clinic Activities include:

  • Dissection Activities. Successful product design requires input from a wide variety of engineering, scientific and other technical and non-technical professionals. Through the dissection of real-world artefacts, students are introduced to the design process through genuine design solutions. They are challenged to understand the analysis and trade-offs involved in design, the concepts of constraints and criteria, and to link the design to their theoretical knowledge base. For example, most of our engineering students dissect a coffee maker in the first week of their program. Assessment is based on their approach to the activity and their ability to reflect on and articulate their discoveries.


  • Analysis and Redesign Activities. Students are challenged to explore in detail how real-word engineering artefacts operate, to develop and validate appropriate engineering models, and to apply these models to the re-design of the artefact for improvement, to suit a new application, etc. For example, students may be challenged to develop a model of a water filter for a hypothetical competitor company, or to take a model fuel cell car and integrate new control to facilitate bump detection, etc. Major longitudinal activities are under development in this thread, for example, in mechanical engineering, the dissection of an engine in first-year, followed by analysis of various components in subsequent courses, and culminating in a re-design in the final year.


Contacts: Jason Grove (jagrove@uwaterloo.ca) and Sanjeev Bedi (sanjeev.bedi@uwaterloo.ca)