June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Electrical and Computer
26.90.1 - 26.90.20
A Project-based Computer Engineering CurriculumA project-based undergraduate Computer Engineering curriculum, with an embedded systemsfocus, has been offered since 2004 at a small, private college in the Northwestern US. The maingoals of the curriculum are: 1. to engage students in engineering problems starting in the firstsemester of the Program, thus provide them with a sense of pride and ownership in their work;and 2. to prepare students for engineering careers by involving them in sophisticated projectstypically only conducted at the graduate level or in industry.Most undergraduate Computer Engineering programs only require a 2-semester senior capstonedesign course. Whereas, in this Program, team projects start in the first semester and are requiredin each of the following semesters. As they develop through the Program, students haveincreasingly more creative control over their projects and are responsible for componentselection, design, testing, and implementation of their own hardware and/or software systems.Design constraints that are encountered in industry are followed, such as use model, cost, power,and portability. Examples include robotic toys, human interface devices, hand-held gamingconsoles, and a stratospheric balloon data acquisition / telemetry system. These projectscomplement rigorous coursework in computer science, engineering, programming, mathematicsand physics.In this paper, we describe the project-based curriculum in detail, including examples of studentprojects. Student outcomes related to both technical and soft skills are assessed using student andalumni surveys and project evaluation rubrics. We discuss these assessments results andhighlight some successes and limitations of the experiential curriculum. We also discuss jobplacement of Program graduates.
Thomas, J. N., & Theriault, C., & Duba, C., & van Ginneken, L. P., & Rivera, N. J., & Tugade, B. M. (2015, June), A Project-based Computer Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23431
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