The design studio is a series of on-line modules, a new approach to the recitation sections of sophomore circuits courses. Students are presented with problems with conflicting criteria that need to be balanced and have multiple solutions. The creators of these discuss the modules, and Rebecca Morrison gives information on the evaluation of them. The names below are linked to pages that contain this additional information, as well as e-mail addresses for these principals from Texas A&M University. These design studio problems can be accessed at
The Design Studio Contact
Graham Booker (e-mail: )
Texas A&M University
During the past semester, I taught the new version of ELEN 214 Recitation, which was dubbed "Design Studio." In the past, the recitation has been little more than a problem-workout session. Now the recitation is a time to expose the students to design principles.
The students are presented with problems that often have conflicting criteria that need to be balanced and have multiple solutions. On occasion, the students have presented me with a solution that is more novel, cheaper, or more functional than my own.
The biggest problem with this course was judging the appropriate amount of work to present to the students. Sometimes the students were given a problem that was quite simplistic, and sometimes the problems were extremely difficult. This becomes easier to gauge after the first semester.
The problems that I presented often stemmed from a variety of more complex problems that I have seen in my own electrical engineering career. As a result, the students saw that many of the problems had real-world applications. I often found that many curious students would ask me questions about this field or where they can learn more. This class not only showed the students that there was more to electrical engineering than analyzing circuits, it also provided a venue to expose students to various fields that they might like to study.
In the end, I feel that the students learned more through this design studio than they did through problem-workout sessions. They were challenged with problems that required thought and careful consideration. In essence, it was designed to show the students that the real heart of engineering is solving problems with no single solution.