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A Review of Capstone Course Designs Used in Industrial Engineering Programs

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovations in the IE Curriculum

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.98.1 - 25.98.10



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Paper Authors


Denise H. Bauer University of Idaho, Moscow

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Denise H. Bauer received her Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 2007. She received a M.S. in industrial engineering as well as a B.S. in engineering dcience from the University of Tennessee. Bauer’s research in engineering education centers around the use of technology mainly as a means of communication for remote engineering group work. She received a NAE CASEE postdoctoral fellowship to study what communication methods students used to communicate with group members during online classes and their feelings on their importance. She is also interested in the freshman engineering experience and student self-efficacy related to capstone courses. Bauer’s educational background centers around human factors and ergonomics, and she is particularly interested in issues that concern the safety and comfort of middle school students. Her research has also included topics such as design for the seeing impaired, backpack safety of college students, safety of pedestrians, and ergonomics of industrial tools.

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Jessica L. Heier Stamm Kansas State University

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Lesley Strawderman Mississippi State University

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A REVIEW OF CAPSTONE COURSE DESIGNS USED IN INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING PROGRAMSAbstractWithin engineering curricula, capstone courses are an essential element of the undergraduateexperience. In capstone (or senior design) courses, seniors are able to use the knowledge gainedthroughout their studies to analyze a design problem. The capstone course is critical in ensuringthat students have the requisite knowledge and can integrate it effectively before embarking intothe field as engineering professionals. As such, the course also serves as an importantbenchmarking tool for engineering programs to ensure they are meeting program outcomes. Notonly are capstone courses important for the profession and the academic programs, they are alsocritical to student success. The design experience they complete in the course has the potentialto influence their career trajectory, satisfaction with the academic program, and self-efficacy.The challenge then becomes determining the best capstone model to maximize this potential. Acomprehensive understanding of various capstone course models will help determine if there isone best model or if it may depend on characteristics of the program such as geographic location,student body size, and faculty size.This paper will present results of a review of current capstone courses used in industrialengineering programs. The review included industrial engineering programs in the UnitedStates. Data was gathered via internet searches, email inquiries, and reviews of course syllabi.Specific results to be presented include:  Course design – Courses will be categorized and compared based on course format and design. Example designs include industry sponsored project, company simulation, and independent (non-industry) project.  Course structure – Data regarding the number of credit hours in capstone course, number of semesters, and grading structure will be presented.  Teams and disciplines – Data regarding the use of teams and other (non-industrial engineering) disciplines in the course will be presented. A description of mechanisms used in inter-disciplinary courses will be included.  Topics covered – The intent of a capstone course is to present a summative learning experience that utilizes knowledge gained during the curriculum. Results will include details on the topic areas included in capstone courses.  Relevance to IE profession – The topic areas will be compared to those included on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exams to measure relevance to what is expected of new IE professionals.Future work, including an exploration of the connection between capstone course design andstudent career efficacy, will be discussed.

Bauer, D. H., & Heier Stamm, J. L., & Strawderman, L. (2012, June), A Review of Capstone Course Designs Used in Industrial Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20858

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