June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Design in Engineering Education
24.148.1 - 24.148.25
Aligning Design to ABET: Rubrics, Portfolios, and Project ManagersThis paper discusses on-going modifications to a two-semester capstone design sequence inelectrical and computer engineering intended to better utilize the artifacts produced by the courseto meaningfully assess ABET outcomes. Two modifications are reported in this work.The first modification was to implement a more structured learning experience with well-defineddesign milestones that corresponded to our program’s conception of the design process. Thecapstone course adopted a “spiral” framework of design based on the Vygotsky cycle which isdrawn from socio-constructivist theories of learning. In this framework a cyclical process ofhow both learners and their interpretation of knowledge are transformed by the learning processis superimposed on the standard design cycle given in most engineering design textbooks. Thepractical implementation of this framework was supported by developing milestones teams hadto successfully complete before they could move to the next phase of design. Milestones werealso aligned with specific ABET outcomes and student learning was assessed on each milestoneusing scoring rubrics. The paper discusses the development of the rubrics for specific aspects ofdesign, modifications of the rubrics based on student performance, and how scores from therubrics were used to modify the content of the capstone course sequence.The second modification was to replace individual design logs with a team archive thatdocumented how the team’s conception of design evolved over the capstone experience. Aswith the selection of milestones, the format of the team archive was designed to assess specificABET (a)-(k) learning outcomes. To support a project archive that longitudinally capturedevolution of each team’s design on a weekly basis, team sizes were increased from 4-5 studentsto 6-7 students in order to add two new roles to the team: a project manager and lead engineer.The project manager served as the liaison with the client, managed the team’s resources, andmaintained the project archive. The project manager also took a small technical role on the team.The lead engineer was responsible for overall system architecture and integration. These roleswere supported by developing a separate grading system for these two roles; the impact of theseroles on supporting the spiral conception of design is discussed. The paper discusses the impactof these modifications on student learning and the impact the changes had on providingactionable assessment for the ABET accreditation process. Documentation of team roles, theformat of the archive, and scoring rubrics are provided as an appendix for adaptation by otherdesign instructors.
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