Everyone remembers learning the scientific process in high school. Using six established steps, students can test their experiments, whether it’s growing a plant from a seed or determining the chemical reaction between diet coke and mentos.
- Ask a question
- Test hypothesis
- Analyze the data and draw a conclusion
- Share results
Most of the time, this process is completed on paper. For Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC), students primarily used a series of spreadsheets to test experiments. In 2018, we launched an Engineering Design Process (EDP) web application. This application was specifically designed to track the process of engineering a solution. Along with a curriculum, the application’s use spread to over 1200 students in Georgia and is steadily growing.
The application leads users from defining their problem and it’s requirements all the way through conceptualization and evaluation steps and into prototyping and testing. Students and teachers sign into the application to conduct experiments, upload prototype designs and offer constructive criticism to peers. What began as a complicated system of spreadsheets is now streamlined into an easy-to-navigate application.
EDP was developed using Drupal 8. The initial project workflow and architecture began as a custom layer of modules but was eventually ported to make use of Organic Groups as the scale of the project increased. There is heavy use of Views throughout the site and a custom implementation of PHP-based PDF creation libraries was built to generate project output.