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A Complete Approach To The Capstone Experience

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Manufacturing Systems Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.29.1 - 8.29.9



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Paper Authors

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Linards Stradins

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Richard Rothaupt

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

Session 2482

A Complete Approach to the Capstone Experience

Dr. Richard Rothaupt, Linards Stradins University of Wisconsin-Stout


University of Wisconsin-Stout is founded on the educational principle that people learn best by doing. This principle is expressed in Stout's philosophy of a "Hands On-Minds On" education. This philosophy works well with the "Art to Part" concept of the Manufacturing Engineering capstone course sequence. This concept of having engineering students actually design, build parts and fabricate machines in an undergraduate program is not new; in fact it is an old idea.

The capstone experience in the Manufacturing Engineering program at UW-Stout is a two- semester course sequence. In the first course students experience the engineering design process by designing realistic products for manufacture. Design projects are managed by teams of students, industry contacts and faculty advisors. The final detailed design is used in the second course, where an automated manufacturing system is developed to produce the product.


University of Wisconsin-Stout was founded on the educational principle that people learn best by doing. In 1891 James H. Stout, a wealthy lumber baron, established the Stout Manual Training School to provide training and education “through which young people of both sexes may secure such instruction and training in industrial and related lines of educational effort as will enable them to become efficient industrial, social, and economic units within their environment.” UW- Stout has transformed over the years from a vocational training and teachers college into a university that provides many specialized professional degrees for careers in business, industry and education. The principle of ‘learning by doing’ is expressed in UW-Stout's philosophy of a ‘hands-on, minds-on’ education and has been an integral part of undergraduate and graduate education since the school’s inception. This ‘hands-on, minds-on’ philosophy has been incorporated wholly into the curriculum of Stout’s recently ABET accredited Manufacturing Engineering program.

Almost all engineering programs prior to the 1960s required students to work with machines and materials in testing laboratories, metalworking, mechanical and electrical shops. Those experiences, gained from the various laboratory exercises, developed in the students an intuitive feel for the way in which the mechanical world operated. Sadly, by the 1980s many universities had disassembled their laboratories and had come to rely upon analytical skills and computer

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Stradins, L., & Rothaupt, R. (2003, June), A Complete Approach To The Capstone Experience Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12208

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