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An Engineering Technology Capstone Course Which Integrates Theory, Design, And Construction In An Open Ended Project

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Capstone/Design Projects: Electr-Mech ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.160.1 - 10.160.9



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Paper Authors

author page

Clifford Mirman

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

Session 1648

An Engineering Technology Capstone Course Which Integrates Theory, Design, and Construction in an Open-Ended Project


Cliff R. Mirman, Professor and Chair Department of Technology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill. 60115


The culminating experience in many engineering technology programs is typically a one or two-semester capstone design experience. The underlying premise for this type of senior design course is that at the submission of the final report and/or oral presentation, the students will graduate and be well prepared to enter the workforce. Upon entrance into the technical workforce, the students will be required by their employers to work in an interdisciplinary environment, completing a wide range of tasks, and sharing the results with fellow employees and management. Since the capstone experience serves as the bridge from the role of the student to that of the employee, this culminating experience must prepare the students for this change. The capstone experiences in many engineering technology programs are designed to allow the students to develop open-ended designs in many of the areas within the school’s technology programs.

The Engineering Technology programs at Northern Illinois University have developed a model for a two-semester interdisciplinary capstone experience which integrates design, theory, and construction into the completion of an open-ended project. In addition, student teams are required to demonstrate that each project incorporates a subset of knowledge from their major course work. The projects are tracked through a tiered faculty input system, where students report to both a main faculty advisor and a course, or project, director. Each design team is given a minimal budget, and therefore, the teams must interface with both product suppliers and sponsoring companies to obtain parts and meet the project goals and timelines. Both semesters of this capstone experience are considered writing and oral presentation intensive, where the design teams are required to present the project findings, both in oral and written forms numerous times during each semester. Through input from the departmental industrial advisory boards, the faculty members involved are able to develop projects which allow the student teams to work on current topics or topics which lend themselves to industrial settings.


The concept of including a senior design project or experience within an Engineering Technology curriculum is not a novel idea[1,2,3,4]. In fact most 4-year engineering technology curricula include a one or two semester senior design project as a culminating experience. The novel idea behind this work is the development of this culminating engineering technology experience which encompasses many desirable programmatic aspects including

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Mirman, C. (2005, June), An Engineering Technology Capstone Course Which Integrates Theory, Design, And Construction In An Open Ended Project Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14478

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