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Capstone Design Assessment and Student Motivation

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.324.1 - 26.324.10



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Paper Authors


Scott F. Kiefer York College of Pennsylvania

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Scott Kiefer has spent the past fourteen years teaching mechanical engineering at four institutions. As an exemplary teaching specialist in mechanical engineering at Michigan State University, Scott received the Withrow Award for Teaching Excellence, given to one faculty member in the College in Engineering for outstanding instructional performance. Scott specializes in machine design, vibrations and controls, and mechatronics. He started his career at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez in the traditional role of teaching and administering a modest research program. At Trine University, a small private school in Angola, Indiana, Scott taught ten different courses from introductory freshman courses to senior design, while serving as advisor to many undergraduate research projects. For the last four years, Scott has been at York College of Pennsylvania where his concentration is on undergraduate education in mechanical engineering.

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Tristan M. Ericson York College of Pennsylvania

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Dr. Tristan Ericson is an assistant professor at York College of Pennsylvania. Prior to this appointment, he was a visiting professor at Bucknell University and received his PhD from Ohio State University in 2012. His research interests are vibrations of mechanical systems and planetary gear dynamics.

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Capstone Design Assessment and Student MotivationThis paper presents the ongoing development of student assessment strategies, and how theyaffect student motivation and satisfaction in a mechanical engineering capstone coursesequence. The capstone sequence discussed contains large scale projects consisting of ten totwenty students broken into smaller subgroups with specific tasks. Since the capstonesequence is a requirement for all mechanical engineering students, the projects includestudents with varying degrees of ability, motivation and dedication. These differences oftencause tension as the projects develop, especially during the build phase. The first step inaddressing this issue was to conduct milestone evaluations holding individual team membersresponsible to the group for their progress. The milestone evaluations included strict penaltiesto insure students did not interfere with the progress of other students. To further address thisproblem, a point system was developed to be used with the milestone evaluations to insure theproper credit was given for each student’s contribution to the completion of the milestone.The new milestone evaluations were used in conjunction with individual assessment of oralpresentations, engineering notebooks, and written reports. The proposed future developmentof the assessment system includes incorporating weekly five minute oral updates from eachstudent along with the weekly notebook evaluation. Additionally, it is proposed that alumniwho have completed the same project be included in the assessment process.

Kiefer, S. F., & Ericson, T. M. (2015, June), Capstone Design Assessment and Student Motivation Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23663

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