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Assessing Senior Design Project Deliverables

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Assessing Design Course Work

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.245.1 - 14.245.20



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Paper Authors

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James Conrad University of North Carolina, Charlotte


Nabila (Nan) BouSaba University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Nabila (Nan) BouSaba is a faculty associate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Nan earned her BS in Electrical Engineering (1982), and a Master degree in Electrical Engineering (1986) from North Carolina A&T State University. Prior to her current position at UNC-Charlotte, Nan worked for IBM (15 years) and Solectron (8 years) in the area of test development and management. She teaches the senior design course and manages the standalone computers in the Electrical Engineering department.

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William Heybruck University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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William Heybruck received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2001. Prior to becoming the Director of the UNC Charlotte College of Engineering Industrial Solutions Laboratory he was a Senior Engineer for Hitachi Global Storage Technologies specializing in the Microdrive and automotive hard disk drives. Prior to Hitachi, he was Product Development Manager for the Wireless products at IBM. He has three patents in the field of test technology.

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Daniel Hoch University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Dan Hoch is a faculty associate in the Engineering Technology Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He teaches courses in the Mechanical Engineering Technology department such as machining practices, senior design, and thermodynamics. Das areas of interest are related to thermal fluid design, internal combustion engines, and energy conversion.
Prior to his current position at UNC-Charlotte, Dan worked for Mercury Marine in Fond du lac, Wisconsin developing 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines and propulsion systems. After completing his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dan spent two years working as a research engineer in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the UW-Madison focusing on cryogenic and thermal fluid systems.

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Peter Schmidt University of North Carolina, Charlotte


Deborah Sharer University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Deborah Sharer is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Technology Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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


Abstract Historically at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte), a grade was assigned to a senior design student at the end of each of their two semesters based on one document. Therefore, students did not know how well they were progressing in the class until the end. This method of assessment also did a poor job of validating the ABET criteria for assessing the learning objectives.

A new method of assessing student groups has been implemented concurrently with a new model that requires students to turn in "development documentation" throughout each semester. Each group's industry sponsor, faculty mentor, and course instructor grade these documents against a previously published rubric. This method of assessment provides plenty of feedback on the group's performance early in the semester. The original rubrics were inspired (and sometimes duplicated) from rubrics developed by another university.

The faculty found that the original versions of the UNC Charlotte rubrics needed modifications due to several different reasons, mostly to encourage more design content in the documentation. This paper describes the history of this program and the development of the rubrics. Versions of the currently used rubrics are included in an appendix.

1. Introduction Capstone design courses offer engineering students an opportunity to apply the skills they have learned throughout their undergraduate education to an applied engineering project. One of the main goals of the senior design course is to engage students in a project with real world implications that are similar to those they will face once the student enters the work force.

UNC Charlotte currently offers a two-semester, multi-disciplinary senior design sequence that spans all of the departments within the College of Engineering (COE). Industry-sponsored and faculty funded research efforts comprise the projects for the senior design sequence. This is particularly advantageous for the industry sponsors, since these sponsors are afforded the opportunity to initiate elective research projects in their respective areas of interest while working closely with seniors that the company may be interested in recruiting. Students prioritize their interest in available projects through analysis of posted Statements of Work and the course instructors, who represent all departments and programs in the COE, form groups with three to four students containing diverse talents that would be representative of a typical engineering team in industry.

Conrad, J., & BouSaba, N. N., & Heybruck, W., & Hoch, D., & Schmidt, P., & Sharer, D. (2009, June), Assessing Senior Design Project Deliverables Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5452

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