A Coherent-Tactile Approach to Teaching Manufacturing Engineering

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Engineering




Al-Abdeli, Y. M., & Bullen, F. (2005). A coherent-tactile approach to teaching manufacturing engineering. In Proceedings of The 2005 ASEE/AaeE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education. Brisbane, Qld: School of Engineering, The University of Queensland.


Teaching manufacturing engineering represents a challenge in that many important classical and theoretical topics such as metal cutting must be augmented using practical and applied approaches. A tactile appreciation of theory serves both to reinforce the whole curricula and to encourage students to engage in their learning. Appropriate syllabus content, stimulating assignment topics, the introduction of cutting tools into the classroom plus designing all-encompassing laboratory experiments enables students to 'cement' together the 'building blocks' of theory. This approach helps students to visualize many of the complex geometrical aspects of cutting tools and better grasp the link between theory and practice. The synergism produced by this tactile teaching also helps reduce (attendance and enrollment) attrition rates by anchoring students in a tangible engineering world. This paper presents the techniques used in the teaching of manufacturing to mechanical engineering students at the University of Tasmania. The paper highlights the curricula followed, practical (laboratory) experiments conducted and the variety of teaching aids used. Summative evaluation, collated in the form of questionnaires for Student Evaluation of Teaching and Learning (SETL), support the view that the teaching technique(s) adopted were not only effective but also relatively popular with students, outcomes reflected in class attendance rates and exam success.