The Application of an Engineering Design and Information Systems Case Study in a Senior Level Product Data Management Course

  • Patrick Connolly


This study examines the use of an engineering design and information systems case study over a three week period in a senior level class covering the topics of product data management (PDM) and product lifecycle management (PLM). Students that have taken the course in the past have struggled with the sometimes nebulous and difficult to conceptualize concepts of both PDM and PLM. It was hoped that the application of a case study of this nature would help clarify the principles of these important topics. Students were assigned in groups to various roles as defined in the case, as well as given a specific scenario to examine. Their task was to analyze the case from a PDM/PLM perspective and provide solutions and recommendations that would resolve the issues their group/role faced. Upon conclusion of the project, the students were given a survey that caused them to reflect on the case and its possible benefits as an educational method. The results were promising, and showed that the students found the case to be very helpful in learning and understanding the principles of PDM/PLM. Mean scores from Likert instrument questions as well as comments from open-ended questions are shared in the paper. Although the study was limited to one class (n=18) of students in a specific topic of study, the implications for instruction strongly support the use of case studies and practical scenarios in technology education.