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A Capstone Course Targeting Industry Transition

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Industrial-Sponsored Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.11.1 - 9.11.9

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Paper Authors

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Monte Tull

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Gerald Crain

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1325

A Capstone Course Targeting Industry Transition G. E. Crain and M. P. Tull School of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Oklahoma

Abstract The capstone program for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at OU simulates the experiences anticipated in the first two years of an industry assignment. Students are presented with an industry supplied problem, and given the resources and mentoring to develop a solution based on the individual team-members’ educational experience as an Electrical or Computer Engineer. Many young graduates are confronted with the difficult tasks of learning the design process of their new employer, while trying to adapt to a new set of business priorities and metrics not associated with their educational experience. This course is designed to place them in a position of design responsibility on a multi-talented team, while they direct a project from the point of establishing a comprehensive requirement to demonstration of a product. In a single semester, they are exposed to targeted research, project budgeting and scheduling, formal oral reviews, design audits, documentation processes and team organization. Industry sponsorship provides a meaningful use for the student product, budgets to allow creative solutions to be implemented, and direct student supervision by practicing engineers. This course plays a significant role in the assessment of the educational effectiveness of the ECE BS programs. Students in this course are expected to understand the design process to the stage that they are ready to formulate not only the answers, but to define a well considered approach to an open ended, constrained design question. The ECE capstone course has evolved over the past 8- years with significant input from the industrial sponsors and the multi-disciplinary lecturers who provide the materials and assess the progress of the students. The authors have been associated with the program from its onset. This paper describes the objectives for the course and the strategic use of industry sponsored design in the course implementation.

A. Introduction: The Capstone experience is an ideal opportunity for Seniors to apply their design skill and to learn management skills with which to control the design1,2,3 . The learning experience has been shown to be multiplied by exercising creative alternatives in a structured environment4,5 . The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Oklahoma (OU) uses a process to help transition their design perspective from an answer-driven arena to a creative, needs-based, project environment. Industry sponsorship of Capstone projects provides a unique opportunity for students to begin working under practicing engineers. We impose design management processes that simulate an industry setting and which concurrently drive the design and the project schedule. Soft skills are developed through classroom lectures, given by outside experts, as well as through required assignments. This format also contributes to emphasizing the importance of ABET a-k topics6,7 . Introduction to the concepts that documentation and design audits are an integral part of the design process is tacit to this course. Performance of the

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Tull, M., & Crain, G. (2004, June), A Capstone Course Targeting Industry Transition Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015