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An Evaluation of Two Industry-Sponsored Senior Design Project Programs

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Simeon Ntafos University of Texas, Dallas

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Dr. Ntafos is Professor of Computer Science, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Office of Student Services in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Wilkes College in 1974 , the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and the Ph.D. Degree in Computer Science from Northwester University in 1977 and 1979 respectively.

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Engineering curricula typically include a capstone senior design class in which students engage in a realistic team project that aims to integrate knowledge gained in previous classes and simulates real workplace conditions. We report on the experience at a large Engineering School with two distinct industry-sponsored senior design project programs, one initiated in 2005 and the other in 2009. In both program participating company sponsors provide the project, own any intellectual property that derives from it, contribute an employee from their technical staff to work with a team of 3-5 students and a faculty advisor to carry it out in a span of two semesters (one semester for Computer Science and Software Engineering majors). In parallel with the industry sponsored senior design projects , there are “regular”, faculty-defined projects; also, the school has a robust internship program where students work full-time in industry (usually in summers) or part-time and an even larger number work without participating in the official program. The industry sponsored projects have gained ground over the years to the point that all senior design projects for some majors are industry-sponsored while industry sponsorship has been capped at 70% of the total for other majors. We evaluate these programs from two points of view: first as senior design experiences where we compare them with regular senior design projects; we also look at them as internship experiences and compare with regular internships (in terms of academic content and also as preparation/contribution to the job market). While all Computing and Engineering majors will be included, particular focus will be on Computer Science and Software Engineering majors as they have the longest history of industry-sponsored senior design projects, the largest number of such projects and also a very similar academic preparation during the first two years.

Ntafos, S. (2017, June), An Evaluation of Two Industry-Sponsored Senior Design Project Programs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27558

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