Coordinating Mind and Hand: The Importance of Manual Drawing and Descriptive Geometry Instruction in a CAD-Oriented Engineering Design Graphics Class


  • Diana Bairaktarova Virginia Tech


The ability to graphically depict objects in two- and three-dimensional space is fundamental to engineering design practice. Historically, engineers have used pencil, paper, and erasers to draft preliminary sketches and to transform initial drafts into precise production drawings. With the proliferation of computer-aided design (CAD) software programs, instruction in descriptive geometry, and manual drawing has largely vanished from engineering education programs. This article describes the history of instruction in descriptive geometry and manual drawing. It also presents a case study that investigates the contribution of CAD instruction with and without supplemental instruction in descriptive geometry and drawing to the development of students’ spatial abilities in an engineering design graphics class.

Author Biography

Diana Bairaktarova, Virginia Tech

Assistant Professor

Department of Engineering Education



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