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This week I was privileged to witness the final project presentations by four senior engineering student teams in Notre Dame’s Principles of Practice course in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences. As part of our unique collaboration with the University of Notre Dame College of Engineering faculty, the professors of this course had invited SAP to co-teach the principles of Design Thinking throughout this two-semester course.  This week’s final presentations marked the end of the second semester for these student teams and the final class was dedicated to client presentations summarizing the final design for few different public parks projects that align nicely with UN Global Goal #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

At the beginning of the academic year I was responsible for providing an overview and exercises on the Design Thinking process. I emphasized the importance of desirability as part of a human centered design and students were provided access to SAP's Build which has served as a supporting methodology for the course. Earlier this semester we discussed the power of prototyping and storytelling to solicit valuable feedback from the stakeholders of each project. Students were introduced to the Scenes resource from SAP Design Services that can provide a powerful interactive storytelling experience. Since the projects all include physical solutions like bridges or water retention solutions, storyboard or experiential prototypes are particularly useful before construction begins.

This course is described as follows:

  • The intent of this course is for students to gain design experience on an integrated multi-disciplinary real-world civil engineering project. A portion of this course will involve learning about the design process, ethical standards of the engineering profession, and building leadership skills. Students will begin their year-long senior design project and complete the preliminary phases of the project within their project groups. Oral and written presentations of the project proposal and conceptual design phase of the project will be completed.

SAP will continue to be involved in engineering curriculum at Notre Dame in future semesters as part of our SAP Next-Gen commitment to drive innovation with purpose supporting the 17 UN Global Goals for sustainable development.
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