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A Case Study: A New Course On Engineering Project And Management For First Year Graduate Students In Electrical And Computer Engineering

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovations in ECE Education I

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.12.1 - 13.12.10



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Paper Authors


Wookwon Lee Gannon University

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WOOKWON LEE, P.E. received the B.S. degree in electronic engineering from Inha University, Korea, in 1985, and the M.S. and D.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from the George Washington University, Washington, DC, in 1992 and 1995, respectively. He is currently on the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Gannon University, Erie, PA. Prior to joining Gannon, he was on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Arkansas and had been involved in various research and development projects for more than 10 years in industry.

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Fong Mak Gannon University

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FONG MAK, P.E. received his B.S.E.E. degree from West Virginia University in 1983, M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1986 and 1990. He is currently the Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Gannon University. He is also the Program Director for the professional-track Gannon/GE Transportation Embedded System Graduate Program.

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

A Case Study: A New Course on Engineering Project and Management for First-Year Graduate Students in Electrical and Computer Engineering


The electrical and computer engineering (ECE) department at the University offers a graduate curriculum that is designed to help students develop skills for system integration and acquire effective business and technology practices, as well as, fundamental knowledge in the ECE field. As part of the curriculum, a new course on engineering project and management has been recently introduced to first-year graduate students. This new course guides students through a complete design cycle from inception to completion with a pre-defined project of a complex system. This paper focuses on the experience and lessons learned from offering the Capstone- like, project-based design course to first-year ECE graduate students. It reports details of the course and pedagogical approaches to achieving the course objectives. Evaluation results are also presented on course outcomes and learning experience of students.


In recent years, the trend in engineering education and its approaches has evolved towards incorporating hands-on projects into engineering courses and also part of an engineering curriculum. Such educational approaches in higher-educational institutions are often referred to as the project-based learning. In ABET-accredited undergraduate programs, the so-called Capstone project or senior design project is offered for this purpose typically over two semesters and considered a mandatory course for students to fulfill the requirements for the program. Within an engineering course, various activities relevant to a small engineering design are often incorporated at different levels. The intent of the project-based learning is to prepare and produce engineering students with skills and knowledge necessary for fast-paced, high-tech engineering industry.

In graduate programs, class projects are also commonly assigned as part of the key components for the course in addition to traditional techniques of enforcing student’s learning such as homework, quizzes, and exams. However, complexity of such projects is often based on the assumption that students have reasonable technical and non-technical skills from their undergraduate education such that the application of appropriate new knowledge from the graduate course is the main focus in order to successfully carry out the project. For first-year graduate students with an engineering degree from an ABET-accredited higher educational institution, this would not be an issue although student’s competency may slightly vary. In most engineering graduate schools, however, there is a large population of international students. This situation is particularly true in our Electrical and Computer engineering (ECE) with a recent large influx of international students from Asia. We learned from the recent experience in educating them that their undergraduate curriculum reflected on their transcripts is not much different from that of an ABET-accredited institution. But the reality is that the actual content appears to be somewhat different and that the majority of the international graduate students are

Lee, W., & Mak, F. (2008, June), A Case Study: A New Course On Engineering Project And Management For First Year Graduate Students In Electrical And Computer Engineering Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3415

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