June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Design in Engineering Education
23.176.1 - 23.176.22
An Innovative Two-Year Engineering Design Capstone ExperienceDesign is widely considered to be the central or distinguishing activity of engineering practice.To prepare students with a strong engineering design knowledge and skill base, almost allengineering programs integrate a capstone design experience during the senior undergraduateyear. Typically, these capstone design experience last either one or two semesters and it is quiterare for the capstone design experience to exceed one academic year. Is there an appropriate andideal duration for a capstone design experience? ABET requires that capstone design be aculminating learning experience. Yet, there is no requirement for the students to apply the entiredesign process, from planning to concept development to system-level design to detailed designand modeling to testing and refinement in these capstone design experiences. In order to preparestudents with the knowledge and skills necessary to face the complex technological problems ofengineering practice, it is imperative that students have the opportunity to practice applying thecomplete design process at some point during their undergraduate engineering education. Thecapstone design experience, which is a culminating learning experience, is an ideal context forthis to occur.In this paper, we present an innovative two-year capstone experience of the engineering programat ______________ that has been conceptualized, implemented, and assessed. The programgraduated its inaugural engineering class in May 2012. Rather than focusing on a specificengineering discipline, this program was developed from the ground up to provide students withtraining that emphasizes engineering design, systems thinking, and sustainability. Our vision isto produce cross-disciplinary engineer versatilists. One important place in the curriculum wherethis is achieved is the capstone experience, which starts in the fall semester of junior year andends in the spring semester of senior year. Our engineering capstone design is a team experiencewith four to five students comprising each capstone team, which works with both capstoneproject faculty advisor(s) and design faculty instructor(s) to successfully complete the capstonedesign experience in two years. Our pedagogical approach in the capstone experience is forstudents to take ownership of their projects and their learning. The design instructors andcapstone advisor(s) are there to support and facilitate mastery learning through directed and non-directed, group-based and independent, simple and complex, structured and unstructured, projecttasks that incrementally expose and reiterate the design process. In this paper, we will not onlydescribe the conceptualization and implementation of this two-year capstone experience, butalso present outcomes assessment data of student learning during this experience.
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