The 2016 Capstone Design Conference
June 6-8, 2016, Columbus, Ohio, USA
This paper will discuss the importance of incorporating user empathy in the design of biomedical products while also addressing the challenges involved during the absence of empathy in the design process. Understanding the end user’s needs is a critical component of design. This process is made increasingly more difficult when the designer is not able to fully understand the needs of the product stakeholder or the requirements of the product. A biomedical engineering senior capstone design project that took place at Florida Institute of Technology, where a team of engineering students were tasked with designing an all-in-one wheelchair that provides multiple positions, allowing the user to sit, stand, and recline, will be presented to further support this claim. To overcome the challenges associated when there is a lack of empathy, the students employed various methods to incorporate stakeholders within the design process. These methods will be described and recommendations will be provided for educators to formally address this within senior capstone design classrooms. Healthcare related engineering presents a unique challenge that is not realized in other engineering disciplines and must be addressed accordingly. Educating students on this aspect of the design process is of particular importance, as most engineers employed within the biomedical field will develop systems that make their way to disabled or ailing individuals.
Elizabeth Schmitt, Florida Institute of Technology Beshoy Morkos, Florida Institute of Technology
Some universities have sophisticated engineering design curricula which give students many educational opportunities within multidisciplinary and/or multi-year-level teams. Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) however has not got there yet but we are keen to explore the possibilities. The innovation we report here is to embed some Juniors in established Senior Design teams in the second semester of a two-semester Senior Design project. Based on only two years of experience the signs are that this is a useful way to improve learning outcomes overall.
Nathan Scott The Johns Hopkins University
One of the ways to measure the success of a design project is the final performance of the product or process vs. engineering requirements. This paper investigates the performance vs. requirements results submitted by capstone design teams at the end of the project compared with customer perception of the success of the project. As a group, the capstone teams and their customers had similar assessments of team achievement of requirements. Nearly all teams and nearly all customers indicated that more than 60% of the project requirements were met. The teams that were scored the highest by their customers gave themselves similar or worse scores than their customers assigned. Teams that were scored the lowest by their customers gave themselves better scores than their customers assigned. Customer response rates were low, and future work will include efforts to better capture customer feedback.
Elizabeth A. DeBartolo Rochester Institute of Technology
Since its beginning in 1990, WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development (WERC), has been uniquely successful in addressing issues related to the management of all types of environmental waste through education, technology development, technology transfer and public outreach. A main focus of the program is the WERC International Environmental Design Contest. The Contest seeks innovative solutions and approaches to water, waste management and energy problems. Now in its 26th year, it provides university and college teams with the opportunity to research, design, develop and deploy practical solutions to real-world environmental and human health challenges facing this nation. The student teams design and develop fully operational bench-scale solutions that are presented to panels of judges comprised of environmental professionals. The judging criteria includes: process feasibility and practicality, cost analysis, community relations and outreach, adherence to various applicable regulations and permitting, safety considerations, and a discussions of potential waste streams. Held at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces New Mexico, the Contest creates a venue for the synthesis and application of a student’s knowledge and skills acquired over the course of his or her college career. Many universities use the Contest as part of their capstone classes.
Roseann Thompson1 and Paul Andersen1 1New Mexico State University
Multidisciplinary capstone design programs provide unique opportunities for students and, often, unique challenges for course faculty. This paper describes efforts at Colorado School of Mines to maintain a successful, multidisciplinary capstone design program serving the civil, environmental, electrical, and mechanical engineering programs at the university. Two key efforts are described: the first is an ongoing effort to develop a common design assessment language across the college; the second is to provide modular, department specific resources to students in the multidisciplinary program. Both efforts have been well received by faculty and students and future work is in progress to refine and assess the efforts presented.
Jered H. Dean Colorado School of Mines
During the project selection phase in a capstone course, it is often the case that some projects are more popular than others. To understand the factors students consider when selecting a capstone project, Mechanical, Biomedical, and Electrical engineering students were surveyed. A total of 83 participants rated how important each of 14 pre-determined factors were in their recent individual project selection process. The data was analyzed to determine the relative importance of the factors. The results show that the top three most important factors are as follows: (1) obtaining engineering experience in a particular field or technical area, (2) gaining exposure to a company for employment opportunities, and (3) working on a project sponsored by industry. These results are used to identify some specific actions that can be taken to provide students with a positive educational experience in capstone courses.
Robert A. Hart and Todd W. Polk University of Texas at Dallas
This paper is intended to share the experiences in developing Capstone Design Projects for the final year of education of Industrial Design Students at Tecnólogico de Monterrey, Campus Querétaro. The process of planning, operating and developing industrial design real projects by the students, has proven successful with the integration of relevant methods and strategies to achieve both the goals of the school and those of the students in the context of their career ending courses. Professional insertion project is the course that allows them to practice at a professional level to experiment and develop further their designer's skills, test their knowledge and exercise their professional practice based on their competences; applied in the various fields of product design, strategic design and project management. This training approach for undergraduates is not a common practice yet in Mexico. The School of Design and Architecture at the Tecnológico de Monterrey considers that Capstone Design -Professional Insertion Project- in the past nine years has innovated and challenged the future of designers’ education in a context in which entrepreneurship and competitiveness are fundamental for the future of the Design professionals. Given the vast and diverse industrial-sponsored projects, those faculty or student-sponsored projects, the Professional Insertion courses have been in a permanent struggle to reach the expected outcomes and to establish a systematic pedagogical approach, nevertheless, in sharing this experiences we are willing to have better understanding of the contextual scenarios that will be useful for the new educational model at the institution, in which Industrial Designers education is based on a commitment to relevant issues in the economic development of Mexican Industry, and above all a contribution to the quality of life of Mexican people.
Manuel Alvarez Fuentes Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Querétaro, México
Students pursuing a degree in Engineering Technology and Management at Ohio University are required to complete a manufacturing based capstone course during their senior year. This capstone course provides the students with an authentic manufacturing experience where they are responsible for designing, developing and leading a group of their peers to manufacture finished goods in a production environment. Students must also fulfill the requirement to develop and deploy a database driven inventory management system with a web interface to track the movement of raw materials, work in process and finished goods inventories. Additionally, the students must build mechanisms to capture the measurements of key part characteristics, part failures and the causes of the failures. The students must be able to develop appropriate reporting and use these reports during their production run to mitigate product failures. The complementary course competencies from previous courses in the curriculum that provide the scaffolding for the students to be able to build the capstone inventory management system are identified and the requirements of the inventory control system are discussed.
W. Neil Littell and Paul Deering Ohio University
Agile/Scrum is a philosophy and methodology for improving performance on complex projects. While largely used in software development, this approach to project management can be applied to projects in any field. Agile/Scrum focuses on transparency, adaptability, individual team member autonomy, accountability, and continuous improvement. We have implemented a version of Agile/Scrum in Olin College’s senior capstone course. In this paper, we provide an overview of the mechanics of Scrum as a project management tool and discuss its implementation in a design capstone context. Our goal is to inform other Capstone programs, so they can assess whether Scrum is an appropriate tool for them and learn from our experience.
Alisha Sarang-Sieminski and Rebecca Christianson Olin College of Engineering
One of the challenges any capstone design program faces is the identification of suitable projects for its students. In the area of Effective Access Technology, where the customers are often individuals in the community, this can be an even greater challenge, as universities can not necessarily rely on employer contacts or alumni in industry for project proposals. The Rochester Institute of Technology, in collaboration with several area agencies providing services to people with disabilities, has piloted an embedded student discovery program that puts students in an environment where they interact closely with clients and caregivers to identify user needs. These students have the opportunity to identify potential projects that address these needs and the engineering background to recognize possible interdisciplinary solution paths. These project ideas result in proposals that can be refined and reviewed for implementation through a variety of on-going programs at RIT. This paper outlines this project discovery method, specifically as it applies to Effective Access Technology.
Adam F. Podolec, Crystal Mendoza, Daniel Phillips, Stan Rickel, and Elizabeth DeBartolo. Rochester Institute of Technology
Building and testing prototypes is an integral part of the design courses for both Biomedical (BME) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). However, little training exists for students to learn basic prototyping methods. To fill this critical gap BME and ME collaboratively developed a workshop series to run in parallel with their design courses. Workshops were run as a laboratory to give students hands-on experience with the methods covered. Additionally, topics within the workshops were linked demonstrating the overlap from one method to the next. The topics covered were: 1) plastic bending and bonding 2) 3D printing and 3) molding and casting. Students from both BME and ME departments attended and learned relevant prototyping skills, subsequently using them in their design projects. Surveys used to initially measure the success of the workshop series revealed student desire for both more workshop topics and more in-depth workshops. Future assessment will include assessment of prototype progression and level of execution compared to prior years.
Elizabeth Logsdon1, Soraya Bailey1 1Johns Hopkins University
With the expectation that engineering students ought to be prepared to adapt to a continuously evolving workplace environment to solve the complex problems of the future, engineering educators ought to also adapt and provide innovative learning environments that support not only technical agility, but also psychological agility to support the development of our students. Capstone design serves as an ideal context to support engineering students with this preparation. This paper describes how a senior capstone design course was transformed not in content, but in the classroom values/culture, reward structures, and the learning environment to encourage mastery learning though effort contingencies, grit and perseverance, collaboration, and empowerment. Designed as a pre-test post-test control group design, a set of psychological constructs (grit, sense of belonging, achievement goal orientation, self-efficacy, impulsivity) were administered to a treatment group and a control group to investigate effects of the educational innovations. Effect sizes reveal moderate to high practical significance comparing the treatment and control groups.
Olga Pierrakos James Madison University
Slack is an online tool for team collaboration that was originally developed to help software development teams collaborate and share code. The tool is a real-time team chat environment that allows the use of mobile devices or any web browser for discussing, sharing photos and files, and collaborative editing of code. This paper discusses an initial integration of this tool in a team-focused problem-based learning machine design course that introduces the capstone design course approach on a smaller scale. Use of the tool enabled changes to the classroom dynamic, provided a means for better communication between and inside of student teams, and improved student-instructor interactions. Trade-offs and considerations for adaptation to higher-level capstone experiences are also discussed.
Timothy Cyders, Audra Hilterbran Ohio University
A cross-disciplinary team was formed to compete in the Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2016 (CWC). Requirements of the CWC are to conceive of and develop a viable business with a marketable product that uses wind as its sole power source and develop a prototype wind turbine and load system. Competition judges evaluate a written business plan, public and private business plan and deployment strategy presentations, and wind tunnel testing of the prototype wind machine. Given the cross-disciplinary requirements of the CWC, a team was formed through a collaboration between faculty in the colleges of business and engineering. A team of students from a business social entrepreneurship course formed the core business group while a senior capstone team was formed to manage the technical challenges. Given that these groups do not normally work together in an academic setting, workshops were developed by the two faculty co-advisers and delivered throughout the semester with the objectives of providing students with just-in-time information and support to help manage and deliver on the competition requirements. This paper describes the workshops that were designed and implemented, student feedback on pre- and post-questionnaires, and what worked and what needs improvement for forming and advising cross-disciplinary teams in the future.
David Alexander and Colleen Robb California State University, Chico
Capstone design courses are of great benefit to undergraduate students, as they offer the opportunity for students to gain experience by applying the engineering science that they have learned to solve real engineering problems. One critical aspect of the engineering design process is problem specification, which includes the development of an appropriate engineering specification that can drive and, ultimately, validate the design. The approach known as Quality Function Deployment is described and investigated as a means of addressing the problem specification portion of the design process in an undergraduate capstone design course. An explanation of the method’s advantages and disadvantages in this context are discussed. Analysis of the method is used to see whether it can be optimized during application. The ultimate goal for the research, whose introduction is reported herein, is to determine the most effective problem specification approach for undergraduate capstone design courses.
Diana C. Gronski and Peter J. Gorder University of Colorado
The goal of this research is to understand and explore the motivation and value that industry gains from sponsoring senior year mechanical engineering capstone design projects at Clemson University. This research compares capstone projects’ expected values from the perspectives of both the sponsoring companies and university faculty. Understanding where the value of capstone projects with respect to sponsors will allow faculty to more easily generate sponsor-based projects. Moreover, faculty can use this research to enhance their projects to better align with sponsor needs. Interviewing was used as the data collection gathering method to explore faculty and company sponsor perceptions regarding the capstone design program. Further, retrospective comparisons are made regarding the perceived benefits between capstone faculty members and the sponsor company. Conclusions of this work show that faculty anticipates companies to return to sponsor projects, especially if the final product generated by the student teams are beneficial to the company. Companies tend to gain the most value from sponsoring capstone by providing low priority projects to provide solutions with minimal investment.
Varun Rawal, Steven T. O’Shields, Joshua D. Summers, Oliver Myers Clemson University
This paper provides an overview of the University of Illinois Mechanical Science and Engineering Department’s optional Innovation Trophy entrepreneurial capstone (senior) design competition, which is aimed to help students launch companies with mechanical design ideas that have societal impact. Over the past five years, four companies have resulted from or are on the verge of emerging from this competition. The competition utilizes the existing senior design structure and facilities with some modifications. An Innovation Trophy Committee evaluates projects, oversees the competition, and ensures that the projects meet senior design course requirements. Students compete for their own senior design project in the pre-senior design phase. The winners pursue their own senior design project that must involve designing, building, testing, and include a business plan. In the post senior design phase winning teams receive a $2,000 budget and space to continue pursuing their designs. Many lessons were learned, including the need to incorporate entrepreneurship in the formative curriculum, encourage the students to pursue their ideas early on, and be selective in the projects that proceed to the senior design phase. There are a few opportunities for future improvement including further incorporation of entrepreneurial experiences in the coursework, allowing students to enter the senior design phase in both the fall and the spring semester, and utilizing more resources on campus including new facilities and students of other majors.
Emad W. Jassim University of Illinois
We describe out experiences in running an “International Capstone Exchange” project between North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, ND in the USA and Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) in Melbourne, Australia. An NDSU-based student team worked on an industry capstone project with a Melbourne-based organization (National ICT Australia) and a Melbourne-based student team worked on an industry capstone project with a Fargo-based organization (Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute). We describe the rationale behind the international capstone exchange, how we organized the projects and teams, how the projects and teams fared, lessons learned, and plans for expanding in the future. Keywords
Dean Knudson1 and John Grundy2 1North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA 2Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The evolution, structure, organization, and finances of the interdisciplinary Engineering Design Program at the University of Arizona are described. The program was started in 2001 and has grown to around 370 students over the last 15 years. The students work in interdisciplinary teams on fee-based real-life projects, with more than 70% funded by corporations and public agencies. The teams are guided by paid professional mentors through industry-standard design processes. The program is financially self-sufficient with only one faculty member paid by the university. Extensive use is made of marketing tools and custom-built software to automate the various aspects of the management of the program.
Ara Arabyan University of Arizona
Professional skill development is an essential part of a Capstone Design Experience. This paper describes a process for helping students develop presentation skills for use within their capstone course and for future presentations. The process consists of 4 parts: Preparation, Practice, Presentation, and Review. After receiving instruction and guidelines, students prepare and deliver a practice presentation with the TA, their teammates, and members of another 5-person team who provide feedback from an unbiased external perspective. The students incorporate feedback then give their formal presentation during class to their mentors and peers. A review session is held within the next week to assist with continued professional development. Even with class sizes larger than 70, the time required has proven to be both manageable and valuable. In a survey, 98.6% of the class Agreed or Strongly Agreed that the practice presentations are beneficial and helped them adequately prepare for their formal presentation. 92.2% of the students Agreed or Strongly Agreed that this process also helped prepare them for future presentations. The instructor and industry mentors have stated in focus groups that the “worst” presentations have improved significantly, and on average all presentations are of higher quality.
Greg Kremer and Cody Petitt Ohio University
Design is a human activity that encompasses a broad array of tasks. In engineering design, individual efforts can be aggregated into teams to maximize collective progress. Effective teamwork, however, requires extensive management, organization and communication. Furthermore, modern challenges encompass complicated multidisciplinary problems with faster schedules, fewer resources, and greater demands.
Design, as a process, can be dissected into characteristic phases. Within each phase, design solutions are gradually developed. Technological tools have prioritized the structured analyses of the detail and final design phases and have proven to be incredibly powerful multipliers for effective design efforts. It has long been the case, however, that major commitments of intangible resources are made during efforts in the technologically abandoned earlier phases. These commitments and lack of modern toolsets for requirement development and conceptual design activities materialize as a major source of design pitfalls in industry today.
A digital ecosystem is introduced that integrates numerous features to provide a comprehensive framework throughout the design process. The Ecosystem for Learning and Team Design is proposed as a feasible technology to bolster student information management, teamwork, communication, and proficiency in fundamental design principles alleviating rework and process-related productivity interruptions.
Robert Jones1, Baldur Steingrimsson2, Sung Yi1 and Faryar Etesami1 1Portland State University 2Imagars, LLC
A one credit hour fall seminar course allows many preparatory topics to be engaged by the senior capstone teams which makes the spring laboratory portion of the course run more smoothly. Topics such as team building, oral and written communication skills, and organizational interaction are integrated into the course sequence before the students perform the physical work, reducing issues during the lab component.
Robert M. Stwalley III, Ph.D., P.E. Purdue University
Waning student engagement during year-long capstone design projects may decrease team effectiveness and create challenges for team faculty advisors and graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) who oversee team progress. As an influence process, leadership may be a potential tool to bolster student effort and overall team effectiveness, but little is known regarding how faculty advisors and GTAs enact leadership within design teams. This study examines how faculty advisors and GTAs enact leadership within capstone design teams and how their prominence in the teams' leadership networks relates to team effectiveness. Results indicate that faculty advisors tend to be more active in leadership networks than GTAs and that prominence in the leadership networks correlates with enhanced team extra effort and satisfaction but not course grades.
Brian J. Novoselich, Dr. David B. Knight, Dr. Kevin Kochersberger, and Robin Ott Virginia Tech
More than 80% of capstone projects in the William States Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) are supported by companies that span a broad range of industries. Supporter size ranges from small (less than 10 employees) to large (thousands of employees) and the expectations of these supporting companies varies widely. Additionally, expectations from different employees within the same company can vary and potentially lead to a misalignment of goals between stakeholders (course instructor, faculty mentor, students and industry supporter).
A formal process has been developed at UNC Charlotte to identify the expectations of all stakeholders at the start of each project and resolve any differences. In addition procedures to execute the project are in place to verify that the expectations remain constant throughout the project. Experience has shown that when all expectations are aligned then the probability of a successful project outcome increases significantly.
Terry Jordan, Patricia Tolley, Dan Hoch, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Capstone design courses are pivotal in engineering curricula, and understanding the resultant learning is critical to both researchers and practitioners. To effectively assess and measure learning, a useful first step is to develop meaningful outcomes. While current scholarship does provide tools for such assessments, most are derived through research with faculty, administrators, and various industry stakeholders. As a result, students’ self-reported learning gains have been largely overlooked. Addressing this concern, the authors discuss the preliminary results of a qualitative study investigating student perceptions of capstone learning through semi-structured interviews. Reassuringly, findings are generally consistent with current outcomes, but participant discussions also highlight personal development that moves beyond acquisition of technical skills. That is, students’ perceptions of their own learning in capstone reflects not only those outcomes currently desired by various stakeholders and accreditation bodies, but also those that might be more subtle and less tangible than those demonstrated via traditional assessment approaches.
Ben Lutz & Marie C. Paretti Virginia Tech
The goal of the decennial capstone design survey initiative is to capture data from capstone design courses every ten years to identify current practices and changes over time. In keeping with its predecessor surveys, the 2015 capstone design survey included questions on capstone course information, pedagogy, evaluation, faculty, students, projects and teams, expenses and funding, and sponsors. This short paper presents some of the highlights of the 2015 quantitative data from 523 respondents at 256 institutions, documenting the variety of implementation strategies for capstone design programs nationwide.
Susannah Howe, Laura Rosenbauer, Sophia Poulos Smith College
The goal of the decennial capstone design survey initiative is to capture data from capstone design courses every ten years to identify current practices and changes over time. In keeping with its predecessor surveys, the 2015 capstone design survey included questions on capstone course information, pedagogy, evaluation, faculty, students, projects and teams, expenses and funding, and sponsors. This short paper presents some of the highlights of the 2015 quantitative data from 522 respondents at 256 institutions, documenting the variety of implementation strategies for capstone design programs nationwide.
Susannah Howe, Laura Rosenbauer, Sophia Poulos Smith College
Engineers and industrial designers have different approaches to problem solving. Both place heavy emphasis on identification of customer needs, manufacturing methods, and prototyping. Industrial designers focus on aesthetics, ergonomics, ease of use, and the user’s experience. They tend to be more visual and more concerned with the interaction between users and products. Engineers focus on functionality, performance requirements, analytical modeling, and design verification and validation. They tend to be more analytical and more concerned with the design of internal components and product performance. Engineers and industrial designers often work together on project teams in industry. Collaboration between the two groups on senior capstone design projects can teach each to respect and value the unique contributions each brings to the project team, result in improved design solutions, and help prepare students for future collaboration in industry. Student feedback and lessons learned by faculty and students from a ten-year collaboration between engineering and industrial design students from Marquette University and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, respectively, are presented. Students learned to communicate with people in other disciplines, appreciate the complementary skills of each discipline, and value different approaches to problem solving.
Jay R. Goldberg1 and Pascal Malassigné2 1Marquette University 2Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Capstone design experiences for engineering students are nearly ubiquitous in today’s engineering curricula, primarily due to accreditation requirements that require students to “be prepared for engineering practice through a curriculum culminating in a major design experience.” A common model is for students to work in teams on design projects put forth by industrial sponsors. These projects provide a real-world design experience for the students along with many other benefits. Depending on the discipline, funding is often necessary for a complete design experience that includes fabrication and testing of the students’ designs. A common issue for faculty delivering capstone design courses is the recruitment of externally sponsored projects. While some institutions employ someone outside the faculty to recruit projects, at others it falls to the faculty member teaching the course. This often requires work during periods that are not otherwise compensated, such as summer or winter breaks. It also requires skills in communication and sales that may not be a strength for some engineering faculty. This paper details a comprehensive strategy for recruiting funded capstone design projects from external sponsors. The goal is to pass on best practices learned through a multi-year process of establishing a new model of externally funded projects in the Capstone Design Program at California State University Chico.
Gregory Watkins California State University Chico
All three departments in the T.J. Smull College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University have the completion of a year-long capstone design project as a graduation requirement. However, the departments do not have a common framework for outcomes, deliverables, due dates, etc. This means students working on interdisciplinary capstone design projects must deal with an additional, and sizeable, challenge of conflicting specifications. Thus, it is important to harmonize the main components of the capstone design project across all programs in order to improve the students’ overall experience, assess senior design projects across the college more consistently, and serve students working on interdisciplinary projects. This paper describes the current work in process to implement a single, college-wide capstone course core sequence to address this.
Ahmed Abdel-Mohti, John K. Estell, and John-David Yoder College of Engineering Ohio Northern University
As the number of international undergraduate students in U.S. universities grows, more students will be required to work on multicultural Capstone teams. A total of 175 previous Capstone design project teams were studied to determine relationships between the proportion of international students on a team and various outcomes such as prototype completeness and writing grade. This database provides objective information to investigate the accuracy of anecdotal observations and to develop strategies to improve student outcomes. Other factors such as previous experience with group members, language proficiency, and whether or not a team was student formed were also investigated. Results show that international students tend to perform better on student formed teams, and that their ability to create a student formed team tended to correlate highly with English language proficiency. The results of this investigation provide insight in mentoring actions to improve student outcomes and to provide positive experiences for international students.
Bridget M. Smyser and Gregory J. Kowalski Northeastern University
Capstone Design courses have traditionally provided students with a critical opportunity to apply what they have learned and to connect with industry. However, students’ Capstone Design experiences might be further enhanced by incorporating entrepreneurial practices found to boost retention, job prospects, and workplace preparedness. Shartrand and Weilerstein identified various practices for incorporating entrepreneurship into Capstone design courses. However, it remains unclear how prevalent such entrepreneurial practices are. To better understand which entrepreneurial elements capstone faculty practice, and how and why they practice them, a multiphase mixed-methods approach was employed. The authors expand on their preliminary analyses of Capstone design faculty survey responses by using the “importance” versus “practice” framework presented in ASEE’s Innovation with Impact report, and incorporating findings obtained through follow-up interviews.
Victoria Matthew1, Thema Monroe-White1, Ari Turrentine2, Morgan Miller3 and Gabriel Reif1 1VentureWell 2 Next Thing Co 3SageFox Consulting
Capstone Design programs are being transformed from internally focused, research oriented projects to those engaging externally mentored projects from industry, health science and non-profit entities. This connection provides future engineering graduates the opportunity to interact with practicing engineers and other professionals to address real problems or opportunities. At VCU, capstone directors with extensive industrial experience are leading this effort. The previous departmental focused structure of capstone courses is being transitioned to a school-wide collaborative program to enhance student capstone experiences. This effort began with benchmarking regional peer institutions and comparison with current internal practices. The initial transition steps included a) formation of an active, school-wide steering committee, b) establishing project vetting procedures, c) support for core project guidelines, and d) standardized time lines for capstone course deliverables. These approaches have yielded a more robust capstone program, increased sponsorship, and mentoring by practicing professionals from industry, health science and non-profits. Students from different disciplines can participate in projects requiring multiple skills. The resulting program and project improvements are described in this paper. In addition, difficulties encountered in this transition process are described along with expectations for future enhancements.
Bennett C. Ward and L. Franklin Bost Virginia Commonwealth University
This article posits considerations toward enhancing an engineering capstone experience. These are not data-based conclusions, but are instead “truths” observed from fifteen years of directing a two-semester capstone sequence in an Electrical and Computer Engineering curriculum. Curriculum vitality often stems from evolution. This has certainly been the case behind the discussion to follow.
John W. Peeples, PhD, P.E. The Citadel
Capstone design course implementations vary with regards to both the amount of project management instruction they provide, as well as expectations of what project management tools students should use and to what extent. There currently exist a large number of project management technologies, of various types and serving different project scopes. Traditional desktop-based tools are intended for large, organizationwide, structured projects. More recently, smaller and more agile web-based project management tools have become popular, in large part owing to their ability to function on mobile platforms and to enable real-time communication between team members. Traditionally, capstone design courses have prescribed the types of project management documents students must produce and favored industry-grade desktop-based tools such as Microsoft Project. In a recent offering of a capstone design course in a management engineering program the instructor did not set any constraints on the type and format of project management documents and tools students were expected to use. Instead, only high-level coaching on the components of good project management was provided. Student teams avoided desktop-based tools altogether and instead chose a variety of web-based tools, favoring those that enabled cloud-based document sharing and task progress monitoring.
Ada Hurst and Anjida Sripongworakul University of Waterloo
Many capstone design courses have recently incorporated some form of peer feedback in review meetings and presentations. In one instance, the course instructor and students participate in informal, design review meetings, taking turns asking questions and providing feedback. We investigated student perceptions of the effectiveness of instructor and peer feedback in helping achieve both the course learning outcomes and the students’ own design project objectives. Students participated in two formats of the review meeting: one in which the instructor alone was in attendance and providing feedback (instructor-only review) and one in which both the instructor and another team of students attended and provided feedback (mixed review). Survey results indicate that the instructor’s feedback was perceived as being slightly more helpful than the feedback received in the mixed review format in helping students address learning outcomes related to requirements, safety, and project management, as well as in helping them achieve their design objectives. Nevertheless, a majority of students expressed that, if they had to choose only one meeting format, the mixed review format was overall more helpful as it combined feedback from both the instructor and their peers. Implications for the sequencing of the different types of meetings are discussed.
Ada Hurst and Oscar G. Nespoli University of Waterloo
Capstone design course implementations vary with regards to both the amount of project management instruction they provide, as well as expectations of what project management tools students should use and to what extent. There currently exist a large number of project management technologies, of various types and serving different project scopes. Traditional desktop-based tools are intended for large, organization-wide, structured projects. More recently, smaller and more agile web-based project management tools have become popular, in large part owing to their ability to function on mobile platforms and to enable real-time communication between team members. Traditionally, capstone design courses have prescribed the types of project management documents students must produce and favored industry-grade desktop-based tools such as Microsoft Project. In a recent offering of a capstone design course in a management engineering program the instructor did not set any constraints on the type and format of project management documents and tools students were expected to use. Instead, only high-level coaching on the components of good project management was provided. Student teams avoided desktop-based tools altogether and instead chose a variety of web-based tools, favoring those that enabled cloud-based document sharing and task progress monitoring.