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Capstone Design Projects With Industry: Using Rubrics To Assess Student Design Reports

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Assessing Design Coursework II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.343.1 - 12.343.10



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Paper Authors


Patricia Brackin Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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M. PATRICIA BRACKIN is an Associate Professor of M.E. at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology where she teaches a variety of design courses, and graphics. Her BS and MS are from the University of Tennessee in Nuclear Engineering and her Ph.D. is from Georgia Institute of Technology in ME. She has also been an Associate Professor at Christian Brothers University. Her industrial experience includes Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Chicago Bridge and Iron. She is a registered PE.

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J. Darrell Gibson Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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J. DARRELL GIBSON is a Professor of M.E. at Rose-Hulman Inst of Tech where he teaches design, noise control, and structural mechanics. His BS and MS are from Purdue in Aero Engineering and his Ph.D. is from the University of New Mexico in ME. He has also been an Associate Professor at the University of Wyoming and a Visiting Professor at Colorado State Univ. His industrial experience includes General Dynamics Corp, J.I Case Co, Sandia Labs, NASA/Langley Research Center, and NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. He is a registered PE.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Capstone Design Projects with Industry: Using Rubrics to Assess Student Design Reports

Abstract The benefits of company sponsored capstone design projects, both to academia and to industry, have been well established. Specific benefits to students include the broadening of their engineering skills, the required interaction with practicing engineers, the strengthening of teaming skills by working in design groups, the development of communication skills with required oral and written reports, and the experiences of project management. At the authors’ institution these projects are “owned and managed” by the student teams with company contacts providing appropriate data and information and with faculty serving as advisors only. The authors have developed and improved these student/industry interactions over the last few years with over 130 students working with about 30 different companies each year. ABET 2000 requires that graduates demonstrate the ability to design a system, component or process to meet a given need and this capstone design course is a natural place to assess whether or not these outcomes are met.

Outcomes may be assessed by direct or indirect methods. Direct measures of student outcomes are based on student work, and for capstone design courses a natural work product to examine is the design written report. Typically, performance criteria are established and then rubrics are written to insure the consistency of the assessment. The purpose of this paper is to show how such rubrics were developed for senior mechanical engineering design reports and then how they were used by three different groups: the course instructors, other departmental faculty, and outside engineering practitioners. Each of these three groups was given the same set of design reports and then was asked to evaluate the reports by using specifically these scoring rubrics. This paper details the performance criteria, shows the rubrics used, and then reports on the consistency in scoring between these groups.

Introduction Capstone Design is defined as those senior projects which attempt to provide a culminating experience to students’ undergraduate engineering education. Traditionally these projects provide team experiences in utilizing engineering concepts learned in previous courses to provide solutions to real world design problems. This general philosophy is followed in the authors’ department but with the following requirements: 1. all project problems are provided by external industrial clients, 2. formal design methodologies must be followed, 3. economics must be considered in design decisions, 4. the improvement of teaming skills must be emphasized, and 5. all design solutions must be communicated through both oral and written reports.

The provision of project problems by external industrial clients is not a simple undertaking but is possible with industrial/academic relationships and partnerships that are fostered over time1. These partnerships are essential for technological development,

Brackin, P., & Gibson, J. D. (2007, June), Capstone Design Projects With Industry: Using Rubrics To Assess Student Design Reports Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2768

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015