Teaching Uncertainty in Design and Analysis Courses


Uncertainty is ubiquitous in engineering, but everything is modeled perfectly in most of engineering courses. It is critical to expose students to the uncertainty reality in engineering design and make them better prepared for facing and handling uncertainty in the real world. In this paper, we discuss the basics of uncertainty and the need of uncertainty education. We then report what we have done in developing uncertainty teaching materials and using them in several engineering design and analysis courses, including Introduction to Design, Dynamics, and Probabilistic Engineering Design, with demonstrative examples. Using good problems are one of the best ways to teach and learn uncertainty, and creating a repository of engineering uncertainty problems is of great value. We also discuss the progress of our effort in the development of the repository.

Meeting Name

ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (2014: Aug. 17-20, Buffalo, NY)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Design; Education; Engineering education; Teaching; Uncertainty analysis; Engineering course; Engineering design; Probabilistic engineering; Real-world; Teaching materials; Uncertainty in design; Uncertainty problems; Curricula

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2014 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2014