June 28, 1998
June 28, 1998
July 1, 1998
3.134.1 - 3.134.5
Capstone Design via Distance Education A DESIGN Partnership Including Industry and Higher Education
Arnold F. Johnson University of North Dakota
Abstract A unique capstone design course was offered by the University of North Dakota (UND) to distance education students at their industry work sites using company based projects and industry mentors for the first time in the fall of 1996; the course was offered again in the fall of 1997. The structure of the capstone design course, the university-industry partnership, the selection and utilization of industry mentors, and experiences in the first two years of the capstone offering are presented. Differences and similarities between the on-campus and off-campus students are characterized, as well as how these differences and similarities are addressed in the course.
The capstone design experience is being developed for industrial students enrolled in UND’s Corporate Engineering Degree Program (CEDP) under a grant entitled “A DESIGN (Distance Education involving Students and Industry in a Growing Network) Partnership” funded by the United States Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE). A primary goal of this grant is to work with industry partners to formulate the mechanics and philosophy for an ABET- acceptable capstone design experience that is implemented at the student’s work site.
A Higher Education/Industry Partnership In response to a need from industry, UND started working with 3M of St. Paul, Minnesota, on a distance education program1 in engineering in 1988. As a result of this effort, the Corporate Engineering Degree Program (CEDP) evolved offering undergraduate distance education degrees in chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering. The delivery method consists of taping lectures, duplicating the video tapes, and distributing them to the students. Students watch the same lectures, complete the same homework, and take the same exams as the on-campus students. Laboratories are offered in a compressed format (time but not material) during the summer on campus.
The program allows students who are currently working full time in industry to complete their engineering degree. Many of them have work and family obligations which leave them with no other option for completing their college degrees. This distance education program allows the student flexibility for shift work, travel, family, and other responsibilities that would normally not be possible with on-campus classes.
The CEDP presently includes 24 companies. A few of the companies represented include 3M, GE Plastics, Lucent Technologies, Hewlett Packard, Hutchinson Technology Inc., Conoco, Raychem, Whirlpool, and ALCOA. The CEDP allows students to earn a bachelors degree in chemical, electrical, or mechanical engineering while continuing to work full-time in industry. Experiential knowledge and previous technician education are assessed in a special course 2 to eliminate unnecessary duplication.
UND is working with its industry partners to develop the capstone design course that is being delivered through CEDP. In the summer of 1997, three faculty members visited several industry sites to review the capstone design process with industry managers, engineers, education coordinators, and students. Discussions at these meetings helped formulate the capstone design policies and procedures used in the
Johnson, A. F. (1998, June), Capstone Design Via Distance Education A Design Partnership Including Industry And Higher Education Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/6953
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