Are you ready for a one-of-a-kind learning experience that will set you apart as a future engineer? You’ll be the second cohort of Engineering 1 students experiencing our new first-year, experiential learning-focused design course, called Integrated Cornerstone Design Projects in Engineering.
About Integrated Cornerstone Design Projects in Engineering (1P13)
In Fall 2020, we’ve introduced a full-year, project-based learning experience where students are exposed to a series of design projects that will develop both technical and professional skills. Using a unique educational approach, students learn in three ways:
1. Introduce Concepts
Three one-hour classes per week to introduce new subjects, reinforce interesting topics and learn about the profession of engineering.
2. Develop Skills
Two three-hour labs per week to develop technical skills.
3. Apply in Real Life
Two hours per week to work with your group on projects, as well as to build and test prototypes in our virtual design studio, with access to the instructional team.
Here is the list of projects:
Project 0: Autonomous vehicle challenge
Programming a robot for motion control
Project 1: Renewable technology challenge
Mechanical design of turbine blades in renewable wind technology
Project 2: Healthcare challenge
Design of a system for sterilizing surgical tools
Project 3: Sustainability challenge
Design of a system for sorting and recycling containers
Project 4: Community challenge
Device design for a working mother with autoimmune conditions
1P13 in the News
New first-year engineering program to offer innovative virtual labs and design projects
May 29, 2020
The Pivot: Transforming engineering education
March 15, 2019
First-year engineering students and budding designers showcase projects at year-end event
April 22, 2021
1P13 – Virtual Facilities
Microsoft Teams, also referred to as simply Teams, is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the Office 365 subscription that all McMaster students and staff have access to at no additional cost.
Teams will act as the main communications hub for ENGINEER 1P13 lectures, labs, and design studio sessions.
1P13 – Collaboration
While we have moved from in-person to virtual teaching, it’s good to know that our students are still finding ways to connect, especially our first-year engineering students who are showcasing their terrific team spirit!
Allison Cook, Blake Freer, Matthew Janoski and Khushali Shah
Jawad Ali, Noemie Boisjoly, Rhiannon Lee and Kaan Ozkan
Hannah Lema, Yusuf Nawara, Kurtis Quasdorf and Sabrina Sousa
1P13 – Student Q&A
Hear what students have to say about their experience in 1P13 this past year:
What was it like working with your team virtually?
Collaborating with like-minded individuals
It’s really helpful to be able to connect with a group of first year students right at the start of the year in the first design project, as it helps you not only start to collaborate with like-minded people, but it also gives you a chance to make friendships with other people in your program. It’s also been an amazing way to learn how to work with different types of people, since this is a skill that is needed in the workplace.
Group work has really made 1P13 stand out, and the projects that we do make up the chunk of the course. I have had very pleasant experiences with each of my groups, as we have 4 projects in total and the same number of different groups. I feel like I’ve made some really good friends through 1P13 and that’s something I didn’t expect to gain online.
Surprisingly very easy
Learning from the strengths of your team
Developing a positive team dynamic is easy because you meet with your team for design studio weekly, and you collaborate when completing labs. Furthermore, the groups of students are divided in a way where your schedules are parallel to one another, so you are also taking other courses with your teammates. This provides a great opportunity to learn from the strengths your team members possess to complete your best work even beyond projects.
How did you test or build projects?
Modelling and computing
Autodesk Inventor and Python
We have been applying our knowledge of the use of Inventor and Python through the raspberry pi and Q-labs environment into solving real-life issues. We are designing an automated system that accurately categorizes containers of varying materials and transferring them to their correct disposal location for efficient recycling. The modelling and computing sub-teams worked simultaneously to increase the efficiency of waste management which has implications on the state of the environment.
Laying out a plan
In this course we have to outline what the problem is, find the objectives, and also make sure our designs meet certain constraints. Before building, we have to lay out a plan for what our design will be like to make sure that we know where we are headed in the process. Then, we build according to the plan, solve any problems that come up along the way, and then begin testing.
How difficult was it to access your professors and TAs for support?
It is extremely easy to connect with my TAs and Professors via Microsoft teams. The professors, TAs and IAIs, have made so much effort to make sure we succeed in this course by providing accessible resources like lab demos, FAQS etc. on Avenue to Learn and hosting office hours. There is a virtual 1P13 office where you can meet with the TAs and some professors to ask questions related to the course and any other engineering-related questions.
Professors and TA’s are always available for help during work sessions and they often pop into our teams of 4 to check in on us. I’ve had the pleasure to speak virtually with 3 of the assistant professors in the course, and that’s saying something considering there’s around 300 students design studio (that’s what we call tutorials).
Designated Office Hours
Gaining access to your professors and TAs is incredibly easy in Eng1P13. Professors’ office hours are clearly laid out, and they are happy to discuss course material after class if you need help. TAs are very present during all of your lectures, labs, and design studios. Many of my TAs are upper-year students who have similar experiences and interests to mine, and they have been a great support when I need advice. It’s true that you will have less direct contact with your professors than you did in high school, and no one’s going to check that you did your homework, but there are many supports available when you need them. Just don’t be afraid to ask!
Favourite moment that took place during this virtual 1P13 experience?
My favourite moment so far was working with my group for the first design project. We all got along great and everyone was also invested in the work, so it didn’t feel like anybody was slacking off or just putting the work on other people.
Going into this program I was anxious about speaking to new people and collaborating in groups. After weeks, I finally decided to speak up using my microphone to ask an IAI a question about the lab we were completing in order to help my team. To my surprise my IAI was happy that I decided to speak up and ask my question and commented on how nice it was to have me participate. Knowing that my efforts were being recognized made my day. Not only did his comment help ease my concern with speaking with others, but also reminds me to do my part in facilitating a welcoming and collaborative environment when working with people.
My favorite moment in 1P13 is the first activity we did. The challenge was to program a robot to follow a certain path; the challenge seems easier after solving the other more complex problems that we have done now, but at that point, I had never coded at all. My favorite memory is when the robot finally went around the track, and my team and I celebrated our victory.
What advice would you pass on to an incoming student about succeeding in this course virtually?
Join group chats
Takes time to adjust
Don't underestimate yourself
Don’t underestimate yourself! While the course teaches everything about coding, modelling and materials from the ground up, students do enter the program with varying skill sets and experiences which can feel overwhelming. There are plenty of opportunities to improve and learn from others, be it your instructors or teammates. Take part in contributing to the collaborative environment by communicating with others and being open to learn to become the best engineer you can be.
Teach your peers
1P13 – Our Team
5 Support Staff, including a Laboratory Technician and Instructional Assistant
10 Instructional Assistant Interns
100 Teaching Assistants
1P13 – FAQs
Design Studio is an opportunity for students to meet regularly with their team as they work on a design project. There are five major design projects throughout the course. You will have 2 hours per week of designated time for your Design Studio project work, but you can work with your group in the space 24/7!
Using Microsoft Teams, virtual breakout rooms for each team within a single design studio will be set up where teams can collaborate, during a scheduled time, and connect in real-time to assigned Faculty Mentors and TAs/IAs for guidance and support. These virtual breakout rooms will be available to students outside of the scheduled times as needed to complete the various project objectives. This allows us to recreate the same type of experience that students would have if they were collaborating in a physical space.
Labs will be scheduled and occur in real-time. These recordings will also be made available for viewing after delivery.
- Labs will be facilitated by Instructional Assistants (IAs), with support provided by a large team of Teaching Assistants (TAs) who will guide you through the application of course content in a virtual format. Access to the software required for these lab exercises will be made available to students at no cost.*
- Students will complete lab assignments in the same breakout rooms where they collaborate on their design projects.
* Computer equipment is purchased separately by students. A computer with a Windows 10 operating system with a minimum Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM is strongly recommended.
Lectures covering foundational course content will be scheduled and delivered live to students. These recordings will also be made available for viewing after delivery.
Yes! Students will still learn and apply 3D design skills in CAD. They will be able to send their designs to the instructional team for fabrication and evaluation at McMaster.
- All the equipment that would normally be used by students (e.g. robotic arms and terrestrial drones) will be virtualized so that students can control realistic 3D renderings right from their home.
- This virtual environment is created using the most powerful 3D creation platforms available.
Students can ask questions virtually in breakout rooms, in the course room, or via 1:1 chat with a member of the instructional team.
Project showcases will occur in a virtual format at various points throughout the year, including live presentations and pre-recorded videos.
Students will create an online portfolio in the form of a website throughout the year to showcase their work to potential employers.
No, it is a full year course running from September until April that is 13 units. Most courses are 3 units each. This course combines 4 courses that were previously offered separately.
Groups of 4 students will selected randomly. Teams will be different for each project!
A laptop running Windows 10 is strongly recommended. Lab will require use of Autodesk Inventor, which runs on Windows 10. For students with a Mac, students will be able to connect remotely to a virtual machine running Windows, where all the required software will be available to them. While students can depend on access to these virtual machines during their scheduled lab, access outside lab time will depend on demand. By having Windows 10, students can access Autodesk Inventor 24/7.
TLDR: it won’t hinder you if you have a Mac, but you’ll have so much more flexibility running Windows
EMBER will help prepare you for Chem, Math, and Physics, but will also give you a chance to meet professors, TAs, and students. You’ll get used to working in a virtual environment, which will help with 1P13.
Curriculum components are broken up within the course that spans all year. If you are unsuccessful in a portion of the courses, there is an opportunity to take a summer course for that portion. We encourage you to reach out to your Academic Advisor throughout the year with your questions.
The first project is meant to be done in the span of a single 2-hr Design Studio. For the remaining 4 projects, they will range in length from 4 to 6 weeks.