Washington, District of Columbia
June 23, 1996
June 23, 1996
June 26, 1996
1.95.1 - 1.95.6
Capstone Design for Education and Industry - The Perspective of Industry Sponsors and Graduates
Richard Wall , Kathy Belknap ASAE/University of Idaho
The ABET guidelines state “Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources to meet a stated objective.” Guidelines for electrical engineering programs specify the number of credits of engineering topics where design integrates with engineering science throughout engineering courses. The electrical engineering section of the ABET Guidelines further encourages “a significant design experience” in the senior year.
The University of Idaho requires a two-semester senior level course sequence focusing entirely on design issues. Students develop skills in open-ended problem solving, identifying solution options, and maximizing resources under constraints. They are repeatedly exposed to the “design process” and are given numerous opportunities to develop written and oral communication skills. The projects require an element of original design and the demonstration of a working model, culminating in written and oral presentations of their design approach and results. Although no new engineering science concepts are formally presented in the senior design classes, we expect that the students not limit their design to knowledge acquired from previous courses. Students thus have an opportunity to learn how to gain new knowledge outside the classroom.
This senior design sequence has been utilized for several years. Author, R. Wall, describes the experience of sponsoring senior design projects from an industry perspective from 1984 through 1988  before joining the University of Idaho faculty. Although the students are encouraged to complete course and instructor evaluations at the conclusion of each course, we recognize that many students lack the industrial experience to make quality assessments of the course value or to assess the ultimate contribution the senior design experience will make to their careers. We recently took the opportunity to further examine the value of industry sponsored senior design projects and look for suggestions to improve the course by means of a survey of the graduates and industries involved over the past five years. We acknowledge that this experience is not possible without industries who value the opportunity to contribute to higher education by direct involvement.
The capstone design course focuses on team building and cooperation. Students are introduced to the Demming philosophy. This approach contrasts capstone design experiences offered at other universities who use team competitions to motivate serious design effort[3,4]. From 18 years of industrial experience, these authors conclude that competition is defined and carried out by those who chart the corporate mission and define the product. Design is initiated when engineering moves the product definition to a set of functional specifications.
1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
Wall, R., & Belknap, K. (1996, June), Capstone Design For Education And Industry The Perspective Of Industry Sponsors And Graduates Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. https://peer.asee.org/5906
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