The Academy announces a new case study resource: Seven Axioms of Good Engineering: Development of a Case Study-Based Course for NASA.
In 2006, APPEL Director Roger C. Forsgren and Ohio State University Associate Professor Anthony Luscher set out to uncover a novel way to educate NASA’s engineering and management workforce about engineering design. The result was a new APPEL course: Seven Axioms of Good Engineering A Case Study Course: Learning From Failure (SAGE).
The course was built around seven core principles that are broadly applicable to all engineers. Forsgren and Luscher used case studies to bring the principles—or axioms—to life. The goal was to supplement the existing skill sets of engineers by asking them to examine the role of historical case studies and engineering failures in critical thinking and good design processes as a means of avoiding classic design errors. The course encouraged engineers to consider design challenges from a conceptual point of view, using case studies internal to NASA, such as the Columbia accident, and external, such as Three-Mile Island. More than 500 participants have attended the course, which serves as a model for both engineering training and education programs.
In 2014, Forsgren and Luscher wrote Seven Axioms of Good Engineering: Development of a Case Study-Based Course for NASA, which explores the origins and applications of the SAGE course. The paper investigates how the principles were conceived and the ways in which each case study underscores a relevant axiom in order to advance the ability of engineers to apply critical thinking to good design.
When asked why he and Luscher chose to reexamine the course through the lens of an academic paper, Forsgren explained, “Writing this paper allowed us to highlight the critical role that case study-based learning plays at NASA and to share our lessons learned with a wider audience.”
Learn more about the APPEL course Seven Axioms of Good Engineering A Case Study Course: Learning From Failure.