Skip to main content
Engineering LibreTexts

13: Student led case study in engineering

  • Page ID
  • This is more of a student guided learning chapter. Since this is not a typical textbook section that consists of an instructor lecturing the student, this chapter might at times seem incomplete. It is intended to be incomplete as it is up to the student to complete it with guidance from a live teacher (whether in-person or over the internet). The basic idea is simple: a real engineering project is discussed in detail by the teacher in a manner that is consistent with real world activities as opposed to a more typical lecture (which has its place, just not here).

    The case study herein is to design and construct a detector characterization laboratory which will include examination of said design using professional papers (examples of pre-peer reviewed papers can be found at: The student is expected to do all the research to prepare for discussion each day as if they were in a meeting to determine the direction of the engineering project. This is a participatory activity. In general there are really no wrong or right answers as long as they are within the scope of the research (if we ask what a chair is and you say it is a coffee cup...then yes that is wrong - but to say a chair is a couch is open to debate which should then occur among your classmates). It is expected that the instructor will be sufficiently skilled1 in the subject matter to be able to take over the conversation and help the student navigate the subjects that they are not ready to handle as freshman. Lectures might occur when these type of road blocks emerge, but they should be infrequent.

    The intend of this excursion is to build something to highlight different engineering disciplines. This particular case study centering on detectors will highlight electrical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, optical engineering, system engineering, chemical engineering, and materials engineering. There is no reason a different case study (say bridges) could be done, but it should follow the methodology highlighted here.

    1Note if the instructor is not sufficiently skilled in detector characterization then we would suggest the instructor modifies this to something he is skilled in, like a, the design of a bridge or water treatment plant, etc.