ME317 has historically focused on working employees, which is offered
Center for Professional Development
What is Stanford ME317?
ME317 Design Methods is a 6-month, 2-quarter course delivered from January
to June. ME317 is a project-based course--there are no examinations, but
there are plenty of homeworks, presentations, and project reports. ME317
addresses "system development" of a wide variety of project applications,
including establishing requirements, concept development, financial
evaluation, and communicating results. ME317 includes both standard
lecture-based material as well as frequent interaction with the ME317
What makes a good project?
This question can be addressed on several levels. In terms of project
nature, a balance should be struck between “real value to the company” vs.
“not on the critical path”. Also, it is desirable to have management
support for a project. Typically, managers participate in project
formation by identifying projects for student employees to work on.
However, this is best done when the manager or champion has some
background in the nature and content of the course.
What are some previous project
In general, the types of projects suitable for ME317 are of the following
- Product cost reduction
- Manufacturing improvement or cost reduction
- Product feature enhancement
- New product/feature introduction/development
- New service or business process introduction
- Product variety reduction/part commonization
- Design for Environment improvement of a product or process
- New market exploration for an existing technology or product
What is the ideal team size?
Ideal team size is 3-4 persons. 2 and 5 can work, but are not ideal. Also,
it is desirable to have all team members equally invested in the project
objectives/deliverables, and results, although this is not always possible
in practice. If a company is providing only 1 student, then we can
sometimes accommodate that student by having them participate on an
on-campus based project.
If I am working on a project from
my own company do I have to pay extra for the project?
No. If you have 3 or more students from you company location, you can work
on you own internal company project. Your company information will be
fire-walled from the rest of the class, and the teaching team will be
under non-disclosure with your company.
When are the lectures given, and
do I need to attend anything?
Lectures are delivered on campus twice a week (Mon. and Weds., 4:15 -
5:30pm Pacific Time). The lectures are generally available for viewing
online within 2 hours of the actual class. Some corporate sites elect to
have their student employees attend a joint lecture viewing session, but
this is not formally required. Many Wednesday lectures will actually be
the Active Learning sessions on campus. For the off-campus corporate
sites, these lecture sessions will typically be replaced by Active
Learning sessions with the ME317 teaching team, and will be scheduled on a
regular basis via telecon and file or desktop sharing.
What are the active learning
The active learning (AL) sessions are weekly-based opportunities for the
project teams to present progress to the ME317 teaching team. Each AL
session has an assigned set of deliverables, and typically involves a
15-30 minute teleconference-based presentation. The AL sessions are a
critical component of the ME317 learning experience, and provide ample
opportunity for the teaching team to address questions/concerns as the
What if I am traveling?
Travel is a reality of the corporate world, and we do our best to
accommodate this reality. Lectures can be accessed from anywhere in the
world if you have an internet connection. For the Active Learning sessions
(team presentations to the ME317 teaching staff), having an ability to
teleconference and connect to the internet are required, and an ability to
connect outside of standard business hours may be required. In terms of
project work, homework, and presentations, travel issues will have to be
dealt with within the team on an individual basis. It is best to voice
travel concerns to your team as early as possible.
When will the faculty visit?
This varies by corporate site. In general, one or more members of the
ME317 teaching staff will visit once during each quarter. Each visit will
be an opportunity for the project teams to convey more information to the
teaching staff, including plant and lab visits, and an opportunity to
present in front of management while the teaching staff is on location.
Visit timing and activities will be arranged on a case by case basis.
Where can I buy the textbook for
All reading material will be provided electronically to the students.
There is no separate textbook to purchase.
I would like to take this class,
but I am the only one from my company. Is this possible?
Yes, but please contact the teaching team.