July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Due to the pandemic, the authors’ institution suddenly switched to online delivery of all courses starting after the March 2020 spring break. As the director and instructor of senior projects for the mechanical engineering program, we had to immediately devise a plan on how to continue to deliver a meaningful design experience to students online in the middle of the semester. As many of the engineering professors can attest, teaching laboratory intensive classes and design courses add additional layers of complexity under the online delivery mode. Our first efforts were to use our extensive engineering experience to challenge the senior students in analytical and virtual ways and at the same time enrich their learning experience while the university did not allow anyone to access the machine shop for any work related to projects. We also faced the unexpected challenge of how to continue the capstone program and meet the expectations of the industry sponsors who provided resources to all project teams. Making use of our vast project and program management experiences, and with the assistance and approval of the department leadership, we adjusted the course learning outcomes to suit the “unforeseen design conditions” of the capstone projects and provided a real-life learning experience in project management to 59 senior students. Via extensive planning and adjustments to how course content was delivered, we successfully completed the two-semester long capstone program with a culminating, virtual capstone day in May 2020 which help ensure that the students graduate on time under the “new normal” conditions. This paper will provide details on how the capstone program adjusted to co-exist with COVID while enriching the learning experience of senior mechanical students. We will share our experiences from last spring, create a stimulating dialogue, and discuss how we are continuing to adjust and manage the capstone program for the current academic year, under more uncertainties. We will have more data to share and discuss during the conference.
Kathir, N. M., & Knudsen, E. (2021, July), Capstone Design - Unexpected Challenges and Opportunities due to the Covid-19 Pandemic Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36780
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