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A Practice Based Senior Design Experience

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.88.1 - 7.88.7



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Williams

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Robert Doty

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Session 2793

A Practice-Based Senior Design Experience

Robert T. Doty, Stephen M. Williams Baylor University


This paper presents an overview of a practice-based capstone design experience. Information about past industrial sponsorship of course projects, course structure and requirements, professional practice integration, and assessment results is provided. A primary objective of the experience is to transition students from their classroom roles into their professional roles as practicing engineers. Details of how the course facilitates this transition are discussed. Finally, results of an alumni assessment survey are presented. The goal of the practice-based senior design experience at Baylor University is to produce engineering graduates who have the self- confidence and practical knowledge necessary to become immediately productive in today’s project-oriented workplace. Interpretation of these assessment results supports the conclusion that this goal has been met.

I. Introduction

Engineering design is integrated throughout the curriculum at Baylor University, and meaningful design work is required of students in many courses beginning with the introductory freshman course and progressing through the senior electives and laboratories. However, EGR 4390 Engineering Design II is the capstone design course that provides the major design experience at Baylor. Differing forms of the capstone design experience have been presented by other authors.1-2

The core course at Baylor emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of engineering design and is team-taught by at least one mechanical engineering faculty member and one electrical/computer engineering faculty member. The objective of the course is to facilitate the transition from academia to professional engineering practice and to integrate the accumulated background of the engineering student. The project to be designed, built, and tested, as the central requirement of this course is typically an integrated electromechanical system with computer control, necessarily drawing from earlier courses in engineering, business, and the liberal arts. That this course is truly a “capstone experience” is evidenced by the course prerequisite of predicted graduation before the next regular semester.

In recent years, external funding from industrial clients has provided Baylor engineering students with “real-world” capstone design experiences.3 Listed below are the externally funded senior design projects for the last several years:

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Williams, S., & Doty, R. (2002, June), A Practice Based Senior Design Experience Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10678

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