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A Revised Approach for Better Implementation of Capstone Senior Design Projects

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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

Capstone Courses

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.100.1 - 25.100.13



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Paper Authors


Manish Paliwal College of New Jersey

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Manish Paliwal is an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at The College of New Jersey. His teaching and research interest areas include solid mechanics, biomechanics, vibration analysis, and design/analysis of mechanical systems. He is the Chair of the MIIS Technical Committee of the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division.

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Bijan Sepahpour College of New Jersey

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Bijan Sepahpour is a registered Professional Engineer and professor of mechanical engineering at TCNJ. He is currently serving as the Chairman of the ME Department. He is actively involved in the generation of design-oriented exercises and development of laboratory apparatus and experiments in the areas of mechanics of materials and dynamics of machinery for undergraduate engineering programs. Sepahpour did his undergraduate studies at TCNJ and has degrees from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He has served as the Chair of ASEE divisions of Experimentation and Laboratory Oriented Studies (DELOS) in 2006-07 and Mechanical Engineering in 2007-08. Sepahpour is an active member of ASME and ASEE.

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A REVISED APPROACH FOR BETTER IMPLEMENTATION OF CAPSTONE SENIOR DESIGN PROJECTSPrimary expectations from a Senior Design Project is defined by ABET with an emphasis onproduct, process, and professionalism. In principle, the requirements for a senior design projectshould include development of student creativity, use of open-ended problems, development anduse of design methodology, formulation of design problems, alternative solutions, and detailedsystem description. Constraints such as economic factors, safety, reliability, ethics, and socialimpact should also be included.However, it is debated how the process and/or the design product should be assessed, and howthe teams should be formed and function for successful project execution. At TCNJ School ofEngineering (SOE), the best practices for promoting senior project quality and evaluating qualitywere reviewed, evaluated, and adopted. The SOE's efforts and new approach and revisions topromote project quality and evaluation practices for capstone senior design project activities arepresented.The elements emphasized and adopted uniformly by the SOE to promote project quality includeearly involvement of the students (in junior year), include projects with real-world engineeringdesign problems with considerations of sustainability and investigation of design alternatives,multi-disciplinary topics, final presentation to a wider audience for added pressure, teams of atleast three (and preferably four or five), and each individual team member budgeting about 150hrs of time during a semester and keeping a log book with time entries. In addition, scheduleddeliverable, periodic status reports, periodic self assessments by the team members areemphasized and the teams are asked to maintain their respective project webpages. The designand analysis course offerings (finite element analysis) were moved to earlier in the curriculum sothat the students can make the best use of the modern analysis tools, and come up with sounddesigns. The elements emphasized and adopted to promote project evaluation practices includeperiodic review of journal/log book entries, presentations, periodic milestone reports, at leastweekly meetings with the advisor, and the final design report.

Paliwal, M., & Sepahpour, B. (2012, June), A Revised Approach for Better Implementation of Capstone Senior Design Projects Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20860

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