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Assessment of Project Completion for Capstone Design Projects

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Capstone Design II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.227.1 - 25.227.19

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Paper Authors


Stephen W. Laguette University of California, Santa Barbara

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Stephen Laguette is currently a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the College of Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and the Technology Management program, and is responsible for the undergraduate M.E. capstone design program. He received his B.S., M.S. in M.E. from the University of California, Los Angeles. His professional career has included executive research and development management positions with a number of medical device companies. He has been responsible for the creation of complex medical devices with more than 15 U.S. patents issued in a variety of surgical fields. He has been responsible for the identification of new technologies and the review of new business opportunities. His responsibilities have included transitioning projects into development and potential commercialization. He has identified and successfully created research programs with leading academic institutions and formed strategic alliances with other high technology companies. He has served as a Director with the Design in Engineering Education Division (DEED) for the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). His academic interests include capstone design and the development of high performance student teams. He also remains active in the field of medical devices as a consultant for new ventures and investment firms. Phone: 805-893-2652;
Email:; Mailing address: Stephen W. Laguette, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-505.

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Assessment of Project Completion for Capstone Design ProjectsAbstractThe Capstone Design project has become a significant educational experience for the student inthe application of their growing technical expertise and the preparation of their professionalskills. The typical design process experience includes Problem Definition, Concept Generation,Preliminary Design, Detail Design, and Communication of Results5. However, the end result ofthis process is ultimately Solution of the Problem which often receives little attention in theacademic setting.A successful Capstone Design program including companion design courses has beendeveloped1,2,3,4 that has become an integral and important component of the MechanicalEngineering curriculum. A variety of challenging projects are created each year to appeal tostudent academic and career interests. Students work in teams with the assistance of a facultyadvisor to tackle a significant Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design project. The designexperience and course experience includes defining the problems to be addressed with formalDesign Requirements and identifying how the problems will be solved with a formal ProjectPlan. As the design and the project evolve, the course experience includes a Design Review andan Engineering Report. For those students that have not had the benefit of professional workexperience or internships, these course deliverables provide an initiation and foundation for theirprofessional engineering careers.Objective assessment of the course deliverables including a Design Review and EngineeringReport is difficult for Capstone Design projects and courses. There is excellent publishedliterature,6.7,8 that provides guidance based upon learning outcomes and the design process. Thedesign process within the Capstone course may be conducted in three assessments9 includingProblem Scoping, Concept Generation and Solution Realization. There is some publishedliterature10,11,12,13,14,15 regarding scoring rubrics that are helpful for assessing communicationskills as demonstrated in a report or presentation for course grading purposes. However, there isa noted absence regarding the expectations and assessments regarding the final outcome of thedesign project, Solution of the Defined Problems (or Solution Assets16)Little attention has been given by instructors and as a result little guidance has been provided tothe students regarding the expectations and assessment of Project Completion within the contextof Solution Realization for Capstone projects. The Capstone project provides a uniqueexperience regarding problem solving for the student. The students and teams should be heldaccountable in providing a formal definition of expected Project Completion outcomes andshould provide objective evidence of problems solution and project completion. This paper willaddress the course deliverables and experiences of the demonstration and assessment of ProjectCompletion. Students and teams have demonstrated the ability to define the problems that needto be solved and now must clearly provide objective evidence of solving the problems that havebeen defined. This assessment is conducted separate from the quality of communication skillstypically assessed by a final report or design review.Bibliography 1. Laguette, Stephen W. Development of a Capstone Design Program for Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering. Proceedings of the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 2. Laguette, Stephen W. Integration of Industry Partners into a Capstone Design Program. Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 3. Laguette, Stephen W. The Development of High Performance Capstone Project Teams and the Selection Process. Proceedings of the 2010 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 4. Laguette, Stephen W. Progress Report -The Development of High Performance Capstone Project Teams and the Selection Process. Proceedings of the 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 5. Dieter, George E. and Linda C. Schmidt. Engineering Design. Fourth Edition. McGraw-Hill. 6. Davis, Denny and S. Beyerlein, P. Thompson, K. Gentili, L. McKenzie. How Universal are Capstone Design Course Outcomes?. Proceedings of the 2003 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 7. Beyerlein, Steven and D. Davis, M. Trevisan, P. Thompson, O. Harrison. Assessment Framework for Capstone Design Courses. Proceedings of the 2006 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 8. McCormack, Jay and D. Davis, S. Beyerlein, H. Davis, M. Trevisan, S. Howe, M. Khan, P. Brackin, P Thompson. Classroom Learning Activities to Support Capstone Project Assessment Instruments. Proceedings of the 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition 9. Gerlick. Robert and D. Davis, S. Beyerlein, J McCormack, P. Thompson, O. Harrison, M. Trevisan. Assessment Structure and Methodology for Design Processes and Products in Engineering Capstone Courses. Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 10. Sobek, Durward K and V.K. Jain. Two Instruments for Assessing Design Outcomes of Capstone Projects. Proceedings of the 2004 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 11. Estell, John K. and J. Hurtig. Using Rubrics for the Assessment of Senior Design Projects. Proceedings of the 2006 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 12. Brackin, Patricia and J.D. Gibson. Capstone Design Projects with Industry: Using Rubrics to Assess Student Design Projects. Proceedings of the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 13. Jablokov, Kathryn and D. DeCristoforo. Sorting Out Creativity in Design Assessment. Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 14. Ulrich, Vernon. Rating Capstone Students on an Industrial Scale. Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 15. Narayann, Mysore. Assessment Results of Senior Design Capstone Course. Proceedings of the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 16. Davis, Denny and S. Beyerlein, O. Harrison, P. Thompson, and M. Trevisan. Assessments for Three Performance Areas in Capstone Design. Proceedings of the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.

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