Engineers interact in the workplace with technical peers in other disciplines at all stages of design, development, and application. Awareness of the constraints and needs of the other disciplines can be key in many situations. Such interdisciplinary activity and the associated communication are facilitated if the all participants have a solid knowledge of discipline-specific terminology and an understanding of connecting concepts. Consequently, experience relating to interdisciplinary teamwork is a necessary component of engineering education. The Smart Engineering Group at the University of Missouri-Rolla was established to conduct interdisciplinary research and to create interdisciplinary educational resources. The topical interest area is smart structures which requires the integration of materials, structures, sensing, signal processing, manufacturing, etc. The interdisciplinary research and educational activities of the group, the assessment of those activities, and the experiences of several graduate students will be described. The effectiveness of collaborative student work was tied to the students- understanding of the needed synergy and their comfort with cross-disciplinary communication. Also, an interdisciplinary course, which grew out of the group-s experiences, provided systematic preparation for graduate research projects. The role of this course will be discussed as it relates to the quality of collaborative experiences from both student and faculty perspectives.

Meeting Name

2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Second Department

Business and Information Technology

Third Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Fourth Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Educational Activities; Educational Resources; Engineering Groups; Interdisciplinary Courses

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2002 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.