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Challenges And Rewards Of On Campus Projects In Capstone Design

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Design and the Community

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.297.1 - 10.297.10



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Paper Authors

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Angela Bielefeldt

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

Session 3625

Challenges and Rewards on On-Campus Projects in Capstone Design Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado, Dept. Civil, Environmental, & Arch. Engineering

Abstract This paper discusses the Environmental Engineering capstone design course for Civil and Environmental Engineering undergraduates at the University of Colorado. Over the past four years, the course has successfully introduced a variety of service learning projects as options among the three to four projects available each year. Clients for these projects have included the University of Colorado and various communities. The structure for the course is briefly described, followed by a description of student feedback on their learning experiences and mentor satisfaction. The benefits and drawbacks of working on projects for the University are described and contrasted with projects for communities, industrial clients, and municipalities. Although each project provides a unique experience and perspective, the greatest benefit of University projects is the accessibility and frequency of contact between mentors and students. Although political and stakeholder buy-in may be difficult to achieve from all parties in order to implement student designs, the benefits of these projects make it worth pursuing future projects with the University.

Background A significant design experience in the senior year caps off most undergraduate engineering curriculum. Per the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) the requirements for design are: “Students must be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints that include most of the following considerations: economic, environmental, sustainability, … ethical, health and safety, social, and political.”1 Content related to a number of other ABET criteria for engineering curricula can also be incorporated within a capstone design course, including abilities to work on multi-disciplinary teams, communicate effectively, and engage in lifelong learning.

At the University of Colorado (CU), the course CVEN 4434 Environmental Engineering Design fulfills the capstone design requirement for students in two different ABET-accredited B.S. degrees: environmental engineering (EVEN) and Civil Engineering (CVEN). EVEN is a cross- departmental degree, incorporating chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering courses. Within CVEN, the course is required for students self-selected into a special water/environmental track and optional for other general CVEN students. Starting in 2003, the course was officially cross- listed as a 5000-level course and M.S. students, particularly those without a traditional engineering bachelor’s degree, have begun to enroll in the course. The course is structured around group projects where a team of students tackles a single design project for an entire semester. The projects in this course have included traditional municipal water and wastewater problems, remediation projects for local clients, and service learning projects for various communities. Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Bielefeldt, A. (2005, June), Challenges And Rewards Of On Campus Projects In Capstone Design Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15546

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: © 2005 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