YOUNGSTOWN Instead of sitting at a desk, Youngstown State University students got to play mini golf for a grade.
Tuesday, Moser Hall was filled with first-year engineering students as they constructed and tested their mini-golf course designs.
This was a first for both the students and engineering professor Kerry Meyers, who came up with the idea.
Tribune Chronicle photos / R. Michael Semple
Youngstown State University first-year engineering student Michael Radetic of Austintown putts around obstacles Tuesday on the mini-golf hole at Moser Hall on the YSU campus. The course was designed by first-year YSU engineering students.
"I was looking for something that's very visual, where they can build and show their creativity," she said.
Students had four weeks to come up with a mini-golf hole design that has obstructions as well as bends and changes elevation. They were given a golf ball, bricks and a 6-foot-by-12-foot piece of Astroturf. They also used computer engineering software called AutoCAD to visualize their designs graphically before taking them to the green.
"They have exceeded my expectations," Meyers said as students took the opportunity to build and test their designs.
Some were more functional, using PVC pipe and wooden platforms to divert the ball in order to make for challenging game play.
Other designs were themed, with one group's design containing jousting knights and a castle. Another course was made in the shape of a Christmas tree and featured ornaments, Santa and a snowman.
After several putts, results such as the distance the ball landed from the hole were recorded on spreadsheets.
"It didn't go as planned," said Karen Schilling, 18, of Mineral Ridge. "But it made it more challenging, and that's always a good thing."
It wasn't about how many holes-in-one they got, but how well they used their original designs, Meyers said.
Chemical engineering professor Doug Price stopped in to see how the students were faring.
"We often have trouble getting the students to work in teams," he said. This project helped students come together to form a solution to a problem by utilizing and testing their ideas. Price said he even saw several students working on their designs over Thanksgiving break.
Last month, engineering students designed and tested "edible cars" that they assembled from small foods such as cookies, crackers, mints, cereal and rice cakes.
Schilling said although she had fun making the edible cars, designing the golf course was her favorite task.
"I liked how we all came together, combined all of our original ideas," she said. "This was more fun for me."