Over the course of their engineering assignment, students would be required to make a design notebook to assist in their research. What are the contents that go into a design notebook and what should students do to maintain it well?
1. It is essential that the engineering students record everything in the course of their research. Everything that the students achieve through brainstorming sessions, sketches, calculations, designs, and action items needs to be written down in the design notebook.
2. While working in a group all details about the team sessions, agendas, major discussion items, and details about working group sessions need to be written in the notebook.
3. The notebook should be used to keep track of visits made to the library, the books withdrawn, patent searches made and URLs that were derived from Internet searches.
4. In case software is used for the completion of the project then it should be noted down as to where the software was taken from and how it was used in the project.
5. There will be times when the document will be too big to fit inside the project report. In such cases it is essential that the students note down where the document can be found and what it contains.
6. The notes should be readable by everyone in the project and it should also be understood easily by all the team members. Contributions by all the team members should be noted down in the notebook so that when the time comes the proper acknowledgements can be given. The contents of the notebook can be typed out in case nobody in the team has good and clear handwriting.
Besides being a big help for preparing reports, the design notebook may be used for patent and legal evaluations and can also be an evidence of the effort put in by the student during the time of the viva voce. So keep it handy and maintain it well.
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