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Capstone Design: Insights from an International Collaborative Student Team

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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

The Designer of 2020: Innovations in Teaching Design

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.285.1 - 25.285.9



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Paper Authors


James H. Hanson Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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James Hanson is an Associate Professor of civil engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where his teaching emphasis is structural analysis and design. Over the last nine years, he has taught or co-taught capstone design. For eight of those years, he has been in charge of recruiting external clients and coordinating projects for capstone design.

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John Aidoo Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Aidoo is currently an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Department at Rose-Hulman Institute Technology. Prior to this appointment, he worked as the Bridge Design Engineer at South Carolina Department of Transportation. He received a B.Sc. from the University of Science & Technology in Ghana in 1997 and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. His research activities include repair and strengthening of buildings and bridges using Advanced Composite Materials, laboratory and field testing of structures and the fatigue behavior of concrete bridges.

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Capstone Design: Insights from an International Collaborative Student TeamAbstract:Since 2005 the Civil Engineering Department at SCHOOL has had at least one internationalcapstone design project each year. For each of those projects, the student team worked on aproject for a client in another country. This year the international project was designed by aninternational collaborative student team. Three students from SCHOOL were paired with threestudents from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana todesign a project in Ghana. The academic grades for all six students were inextricably linked;therefore, the six were forced to work collaboratively in order to produce a successful design.In order to complete the project, the team had to overcome several new challenges. Although allsix students spoke English, their dialects and accents were very different. Adding to thecommunication challenges was the need to work remotely. The students were unable to meetface-to-face. In addition, only the KNUST students were able to visit the project site, so theyhad to relay critical information to the SCHOOL students.The instructors also had to overcome challenges. The two schools were on different termschedules. The capstone design courses had different durations, learning objectives, anddeliverables. Therefore, the instructors had to adapt their expectations and demands on thestudents in order to facilitate the collaboration within the team.This paper provides unique insights and lessons learned from both the student and instructorperspective. It shows how well the student team achieved the educational outcomes, andsummarizes the benefits the students gained beyond technical skills. The paper concludes withrecommendations for programs that would like to develop an international collaborative studentteam experience.

Hanson, J. H., & Aidoo, J. (2012, June), Capstone Design: Insights from an International Collaborative Student Team Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21043

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