Design teaching in mechanical engineering has two features which distinguish it from many other teaching areas. First, the majority of students have little or no background in technology and practical design. Second, virtually all design learning comes through the development of conceptual understanding, rather than from the learning of declarative knowledge. The objective of teaching mechanical engineering design is to provide a learning context in which students will achieve a basic level of competence in design. The challenge, then, for design teachers is to ensure that the learning context – the curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment provisions – is appropriate to the development of conceptual understanding of the design process, and through this, achieve the goal of design competence. The most important and yet most difficult teaching goal is to bring the conceptual change in students’ understanding of the fundamental features of the discipline being studied. The focus of this paper is to look at some of the aspects associated with the teaching mechanical engineering design in new environment in which engineering schools are subject to resource constraints. The results indicate that there is a need for a closer look at teaching methods and assessment practices.