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Capstone Redesign: Engaging stakeholders to find the balance between individual and team learning outcomes

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Architectural Engineering Division Technical Session 3

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Paper Authors


Ryan Solnosky Pennsylvania State University

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Ryan Solnosky is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Architectural Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University at University Park. Dr. Solnosky has taught courses for Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Pre-Major Freshman in Engineering. He received his integrated BAE/MAE degrees in architectural engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2009 and his Ph.D. in architectural engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2013. Dr. Solnosky is also a licensed Professional Engineer in PA. Ryan is also an advisor for Penn State’s National AEI Student Competition teams. His research interests include: integrated structural design methodologies and processes; Innovative methods for enhancing engineering education; and high performing wall enclosures. These three areas look towards the next generation of building engineering, including how systems are selected, configured and designed.

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Robert Leicht Pennsylvania State University

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Ziyi Wang Pennsylvania State University

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Capstone experiences in engineering education cumulate learning students have developed over their academic careers, showcase their ability to engineer solutions, and serve as a crowning element in the transition to industry positions. To stay relevant to industry trends and needs, capstone experiences periodically need to be revisited in their content, delivery, and context. These decisions to re-design both the capstone project and overall experience is significant and should engage both the internal and external stakeholders. In multi-disciplinary programs, there are more diverse stakeholder opinions that often will have competing interests and perspectives. In architectural engineering, many capstones are inherently multi-disciplinary with engineering of multiple systems, construction, and sometimes architecture. Common stakeholders to consider include faculty within the department who teach and advise, the students who must take the course(s), and industry advisors expecting certain results and knowledge to be demonstrated for the students they may likely hire.

In this manuscript, we present the current design of a year-long capstone in architectural engineering, present the evaluative process undertaken for improvements, a stakeholder input analysis on the decision and re-design process, then lastly introduce the resulting model that was piloted. The fundamental challenge leading to the review and consideration of a new approach is the tension between individual learning and scholarship with the benefits of developing an effective team model. The resulting pilot model captures a transitional process, with some team and some individualized elements that attempts to balance the benefits of both, while minimizing the challenges of each

Solnosky, R., & Leicht, R., & Wang, Z. (2022, August), Capstone Redesign: Engaging stakeholders to find the balance between individual and team learning outcomes Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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