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Capstone Project Challenges: How Industry Sponsored Projects Offer New Learning Experiences

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.253.1 - 24.253.11



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Paper Authors


Carrie Steinlicht South Dakota State University

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Dr. Carrie Steinlicht is an Asst. Professor of Operations Management. She has directed many Capstone projects with Industry partners for students in Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Operations Management. She has several years of industry experience as an advanced development engineer and has served as a consultant to industry for over 10 years.

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Byron G. Garry South Dakota State University

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Byron Garry is an Associate Professor of Electronics Technology and the Undergraduate Program Coordinator of the Department of Construction & Operations Management, in the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering at South Dakota State University. His research interests are in the areas of student learning, assessment of student learning and dissemination of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

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Capstone project challenges: How industry sponsored projects offer new learning experiences.Abstract:Industry sponsored capstone projects offer context based experience with curricular subjects thatcan enrich learning for the student. The challenges faced by the student in a capstone projectoften go beyond technical challenges that the students have prepared for with their undergraduatecourse of study. Sheppard, et al., in Educating Engineers (2008), classified student’sundergraduate preparation under these types of knowledge that engineers need to know:Theoretical Tools, Fundamental Design Concepts, Criteria and Specifications, and QualitativeDate. Capstone projects are located within a system of operations at the sponsoring industrywhere all parts of the operation are linked and work together to provide value. In an academicenvironment, students generally solve problems in isolation from other parts of a system. Whenworking on an industry sponsored project, students are often faced with communicationproblems, scope changes, company specific constraints, delays, differing personalities and otherthings that they do not normally face in the classroom. Sheppard, et al. classified these types ofknowledge as: Practical Considerations, Process-Facilitating Strategies, and Contextual andNormative Knowledge. These are not regular topics in the undergraduate curriculum andstudents find that the skills they need to effectively finish projects go beyond technicalknowledge and it is often those challenges that dictate success. Working through these types ofchallenges becomes a big part of an industry sponsored capstone project, and presents anopportunity for student learning. This paper will explore the effect of these context specificchallenges and suggest that these learning experiences are important to student development.Sheppard, S.D., Macatangay, K., Colby, A., & Sullivan, W.M. 2008. Educating Engineers:Designing for the Future of the Field. Jossey-Bass  

Steinlicht, C., & Garry, B. G. (2014, June), Capstone Project Challenges: How Industry Sponsored Projects Offer New Learning Experiences Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20144

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