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Board 98 : A Case Study of Interdisciplinary Capstone Engineering Design

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

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Paper Authors


George A. Hunt University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Dr. Hunt is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Although many institutions engage industrial or private clients to sponsor capstone design projects, only a handful of capstone design experiences involve interdepartmental undergraduate teams from different disciplines (McKenzie et al. 2004). The importance of working in interdisciplinary teams is highlighted as one of the ABET outcomes for undergraduate engineering programs, however, in civil and environmental engineering, interdisciplinary teams are often defined as teams comprised of students with expertise in various subdisciplines within the department. During the 2017-2018 academic year, a two-semester pilot capstone design course was developed to meet the following primary objectives: (1) incorporate both design and construction of a project for a real world client; and (2) form an interdisciplinary student team across at least two engineering disciplines. The selected project was the design of an operating bench-scale water treatment process educational model which included unit processes such as coagulation, clarification, filtration and UV-disinfection. Design constraints included mobility and durability of the unit, as well as the total time required to treat water from start to finish. This interdisciplinary project involved civil engineering students who designed the water treatment processes and electrical engineering students who developed the control logic to control the pumps, water sensors and chemical feeds. Deliverables from the project included written and oral presentations of the design process, applications to secure external funding for the project and development of educational materials to accompany the constructed tabletop water treatment model. Assessment mechanisms for the learning outcomes of the project were adapted from King and Herman (2015) and include oral presentations, written reports, faculty evaluation, mentor evaluation, professional audience evaluations and the quality of the final product.

King, K.G. and J.W. Hermann. (2015). Learning Outcomes for a Multidisciplinary Undergradate Honors Program: Development, Measurement and Continuous Improvement. Quality Approaches in Higher Education, 6:1

McKenzie, L.J.; Trevisan, M.S.; David, D.C.; Beyerlein, S.W. (2004). Capstone Design Courses and Assessment: A National Study. Proceedings of the 2004 American Society of Engineering Educational Annual Conference and Exposition.

Hunt, G. A. (2018, June), Board 98 : A Case Study of Interdisciplinary Capstone Engineering Design Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30149

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