San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
Design in Engineering Education
25.282.1 - 25.282.14
Capstone 101: A Framework for Implementation of an ABET-Compliant Capstone SequenceThe ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs states, “Students must be prepared forengineering practice through a curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on theknowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineeringstandards and multiple realistic constraints.” The ABET Criteria for Accrediting EngineeringPrograms states “Baccalaureate degree programs must provide a capstone or integratingexperience that develops student competencies in applying both technical and non-technicalskills in solving problems.” Many programs already have a course in place that was designed toserve the purpose of providing a clinical experience for students prior to graduation, but thevision for these courses is inconsistent at best when the population of programs in the UnitedStates is considered as a whole. Some institutions implement the course as a single semesterexperience, some as a two semester experience. Some programs concentrate all students on asingle project; some programs employ multiple projects from which student teams choose. Theteaching burden for courses of this nature is not congruent with a traditional lecture or laboratorycourse. Some Universities recognize this difference, others simply treat it as just another course,despite its’ key role in retaining accreditation and the large time commitment required for auseful experience for the students.This paper defines a notional structure for implementing a modern capstone experience wherenone exists or where a new course paradigm is desired, based on the experiences of manyprogram instructors from across the United States and Canada. This includes data andexperiences described in seminal published papers, as well as the personal experiences of theauthors. The material presented will also serve as a training aid for faculty new to this type ofcourse delivery with suggestions for minimizing effort while maximizing quality and realism ofstudent experience.
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