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Girard  (p. 9-22)
Cooper (p. 23-32)
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An Experiential Learning Project to Bridge the Gap Between Programming and CAD

Author(s): Nathan Washuta, Jordan Cavender

Citation: Nathan Washuta, Jordan Cavender, (2021) "An Experiential Learning Project to Bridge the Gap Between Programming and CAD," Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, Vol. 16, Iss. 3, pp.192-199

Article Type: Research paper

Publisher: North American Business Press


In the first two years of the Mechanical Engineering curriculum at The Citadel, students take a computer applications course related to programming and a separate course related to CAD modeling. Typical student feedback is very positive in the CAD course due to the hands-on nature and real world applications evident in the coursework, but students often struggle to appreciate the useful applications of programming, which leads to lower engagement in the course. In this paper, the authors present an independent study project that focuses on modifying an STL file in MATLAB to optimize its shape in response to applied forces, in an effort to bridge the gap between these software applications. Through this exercise, the student gained an understanding of data types, programming structures, algorithm development, and other coding best practices through a tangible, real-world application. The present paper will discuss the problem approach, a discussion of the applicable ABET outcomes to this project, as well as recommendations for adapting this independent study project into a course module.