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A Simplified Documentation Control System For Use With A Capstone Senior Design Program

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Communication in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.89.1 - 15.89.15



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Paper Authors

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Peter Schmidt University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Deborah Sharer University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Nabila (Nan) BouSaba University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Daniel Hoch University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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James Conrad University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Bruce Gehrig University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Steve Patterson University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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

A Simplified System of Document Control for a Capstone Senior Design Program


Modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have grown from document control systems pioneered, developed and perfected by engineering organizations over the past 100 years. The idea of having controlled and correct information available at the fingertips of any employee has revolutionized the entire business world, and contributed to the vast productivity increases seen in the workplace in recent decades. As a part of a comprehensive capstone engineering experience, exposure to documentation control is used to prepare graduating seniors for typical of duties they will encounter in the modern workplace, but that are not covered in traditional engineering curricula. This work describes a basic documentation control system used in a multidisciplinary program to train students in information control processes and procedures that are expected of practicing engineers. Work in an organization with global reach increases the importance of real time document and information control and sensitivity to the requirements of a modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system should position the students exiting the program to be more competitive in the workplace. This work describes a simple but effective system of required documentation, naming conventions, release structure and revision controls that enable student teams to track documentation changes during the life of their capstone project, along with the rationale for any implemented changes. Additionally, the students learn to keep secure, controlled document archives and to standardize document production for presentation to instructors, other faculty, external mentors and other program stakeholders. This program has been designed for migration to an open source ERP system, and the early stages of that migration will also be discussed.

Document Control Rationale

The earliest known examples that could be labeled as engineering drawings date from the time of the ancient Egyptians, from about 1500 B.C.1. The simple drawing of a shaduf shown in Ref. [1], with a human operator for scale, could be used to reproduce this simple machine for lifting irrigation water. Euclid formalized geometry around the year 320 B.C., in a way that allowed for the use of drawings as analytical tools.2

As engineering entered the Renaissance, investigators who possessed artistic skill began laying the ground work for formalized engineering documentation by drawing not just

Schmidt, P., & Sharer, D., & BouSaba, N. N., & Hoch, D., & Conrad, J., & Gehrig, B., & Patterson, S. (2010, June), A Simplified Documentation Control System For Use With A Capstone Senior Design Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16221

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