20.020 | Spring 2009 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Biological Engineering Design

Lecture and Studio Notes

Class Notes: Week 6

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Lecture 10: Project Work Day

Studio 6: 3 Ideas Presentation

Lecture 11: Project Selection Day

Lecture 10: Project Work Day

Today will be a project work day with your advanced student mentors. Please be sure to reviewing the project organizer and the requirements for the 3 ideas presentation. You could also consider the team building resources and review your team contract if that seems right. Finally, you should update your project development log to keep the record of your work up to date.


When it is ready, please submit your 3 ideas presentation.

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Studio 6: 3 Ideas Presentation

Today we will hear from each topic area. After each presentation you will be asked to offer feedback to the presenters on the relative merits according to these 4 criteria.

  • Which of the 3 ideas addresses the most important challenge or opportunity?
  • Which of the 3 ideas would have the greatest impact if fully successful?
  • Which of the 3 ideas is most competitive with alternative technologies?
  • Which of the 3 ideas has greatest certainty and fewest unknowables?

See the projects page for these student presentations.

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Lecture 11: Project Selection Day

Today is a delicate and important day for your team since now you must decide (or set a concrete plan for deciding) which of the 3 ideas you presented yesterday is the one you’ll take forward. In making this decision you have many considerations to weigh:

  1. what you’ve learned from the research and preparation that went into the 3 ideas presentation
  2. what your teammates have worked on and discussed
  3. what your team advisers have contributed
  4. the questions you were asked by the audience after your presentation
  5. what you heard in the other presentations (any great ideas or sobering thoughts from the work other groups have done?)
  6. the feedback on the 4 criteria for project selection (importance, impact, competing technologies, knowns/unknowns)
  7. the upcoming goals and needs that will enable your team to specify the design you choose, namely the contents of the tech spec review

Every group should begin by sharing their impressions of yesterday’s 3 ideas presentations, and offering an opinion on where your team stands.

Path 1

If, after this discussion, your team is still undecided as to which project would be most appropriate to take forward, then try reading this 4 page excerpt from Peter Scholtes’s Team Handbook, focusing on the steps for consensus building.

Scholtes, Peter, et al. The Team Handbook, 3rd ed. Madison, WI: Oriel Incorporated, 2003, pp. 3-26 through 3-29. ISBN: 9781884731266. [Preview in Google Books.]

  • Have someone read when to use consensus building approaches to make sure this is the appropriate approach for your group
  • Follow the tips sheet to reach consensus (or discuss then vote if that is the method your team chooses)

Once you have chosen one of the three project ideas to take forward, continue to “Path 2” if you have time or decide what you will work on between now and when we meet again next week.

Path 2

If, after the discussion about yesterday’s 3 ideas presentations, your team is in agreement as to which one of the three ideas you’ll take forward, then you’re ready to dig into the nitty-gritty of design details and specification.

  • Begin by reviewing, as a team the deliverables for the next stage of your project, namely the tech spec review
  • Next, look carefully at one example of a technical specification, that of the “Polkadorks” team from the 2004 IAP class. At a minimum, you should make sure everyone on your team understands the kinds of descriptions (timing diagram vs parts list etc) that they are showing on their project page and if there’s time, you might consider what needs to be done with your project idea to collect these details. There will be time next week to continue that work together.

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Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
Tutorial Videos
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples