FDM technology, however, may have made a difference for some. “Of the 44 students in my class, more than 20 of them said this project influenced their decision to pursue a major involving engineering technology,” said Christensen.
“Backwards instructional design” is what Brad Christensen calls his method of teaching his Technology I class. A professor in the Technology and Industrial Arts Department of Berea College in Berea, Ky., Christensen gives his students the final project on the first day of class. He then presents his instruction based on what is needed. A recent project involved making radiocontrolled boats using FDM technology from Stratasys.
“Most students in this class have never designed anything,” he said. “Many have never measured or cut on a line before. This is their first exposure to the engineering process, their first try at making something work.” Berea College is a private liberal arts college providing education primarily to students from Appalachia who show great promise but have limited economic resources.