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Collaboration Of Freshman With Seniors In A Capstone Design Course

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Capstone Design Projects in Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.328.1 - 11.328.23



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Paper Authors


William Janna University of Memphis

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William S. Janna joined the faculty of The University of Memphis in 1987 as Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He served as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the Herff College of Engineering. His research interests include boundary layer methods of solution for various engineering problems, and modeling the melting of ice objects of various shapes. He is the author of three textbooks, a member of ASEE and of ASME. He teaches continuing education courses in the area of piping systems and in heat exchanger design and selection, for ASME. Dr. Janna received a B.S. degree, an M.S.M.E. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toledo.

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John Hochstein University of Memphis

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John I. Hochstein joined the faculty of The University of Memphis in 1991 and currently holds the position of Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In addition to engineering education, his research interests include simulation of micro gravity processes and computational modeling of fluid flows with free surfaces. He is a co-author of a textbook, Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics, with P. Gerhart and R. Gross and is an Associate Fellow of AIAA. Dr. Hochstein received a B.E. degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology (1973), an M.S.M.E. degree from The Pennsylvania State University (1979), and a Ph.D. from The University of Akron (1984).

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



An innovative capstone design course titled “Design of Fluid Thermal Systems,” involves groups of seniors working on various semester-long design projects. Groups are composed of 3, 4 or 5 members that bid competitively on various projects. Once projects are awarded, freshmen enrolled in the “Introduction to Mechanical Engineering” course are assigned to work with the senior design teams. The senior teams function like small consulting companies that employ co- operative education students; e.g., the freshmen.

One objective of building this collaboration is a desire to increase the retention rate of the freshmen by involving them with the seniors in what appears to be interesting design work. Additionally, the seniors benefit by developing the ability to communicate their ideas to a non- technical, educated audience as their design work progresses.

The Freshman-Senior Collaboration program began in Fall 2001. At the end of the Fall 2001 semester, the seniors were given assessment forms to complete, and among other things, the seniors recommended that the program be continued in the future. The program was continued in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The seniors and the freshmen both assessed the program in Fall 2002, and in 2004.

In Fall 2004, a number of those who were freshmen in 2001 are now seniors. As seniors, they are now working with freshmen “co-ops.” At the end of the semester, the freshmen and the seniors were again given assessment forms to complete, and the following conclusions were drawn: • Overall, the seniors and the freshmen perceived the freshman-senior interaction as a rewarding experience • The seniors perceived their freshmen partners as able to make useful contributions. • Both the freshmen and the seniors gained an appreciation of the practical aspects of management through coordination with their partners. • The seniors were able to provide many experiential insights to the freshmen to enhance the freshmen design experience. • The seniors and the freshmen recommended that the program be continued in the future. Results of several specific design projects are highlighted, and the freshman-senior interaction is described.


“Design of Fluid Thermal Systems” is a senior-level, capstone design course at the University of Memphis. Students in this course are divided into groups of 3, 4 or 5 members who work together as a team on a design project. Selected projects are presented to the design teams who must bid competitively on three of the projects. The design team with the lowest bid is awarded that particular project to work on for the entire semester. (See the text listed in the Bibliography for information on the bidding process.) Design teams function like companies and as such, each

Janna, W., & Hochstein, J. (2006, June), Collaboration Of Freshman With Seniors In A Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--325

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