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Construction Industry Involvement In The Capstone Senior Design Class

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

BIM and Other New Construction Practices

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.315.1 - 15.315.10



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Paper Authors


Althea Arnold University of North Texas

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Dr. Althea Arnold is an assistant professor at the University of North Texas. She earned her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in the Department of Architecture, Construction Management specialty and her MS and BS in Civil Engineering. She has worked as a civil engineer, researcher, and faculty member with more than 25 years combined experience. She coordinates and teaches the capstone senior design class for Construction Engineering Technology. Her interests include Building Information Modeling (BIM), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and robotics in construction.

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


The University of North Texas Construction Engineering Technology program has effectively taken advantage of construction industry involvement in the implementation of its capstone class. The objectives of this capstone experience are to integrate the knowledge learned in all previous course work, give the student experience working with industry that was not possible in conventional classroom settings, expose the students to cutting edge technology currently being used by progressive industries, give students experience working in teams and making both written and oral presentations. These objectives are in line with the ABET requirements for capstone courses: (1) “draw together diverse elements of the curriculum,” and (2) “develop student competence in focusing both technical and non-technical skills in solving problems.” The Senior Design capstone course is a two semester course pair required of all graduating seniors in the degree program. Students in these courses closely follow actual construction projects over the nine month course duration. Students choose from projects in commercial construction, residential subdivision construction, heavy highway or structural design. Although students follow an actual project they are responsible for developing their own schedule, cost estimate, and 3-D Revit building model. Students learn how early decisions affect the cost and schedule of the project. For their final presentation, students present the actual project; their own projections; recommendations for making the project more sustainable; and comparisons for each. These presentations are made before members of the Construction Industry Advisory Board, faculty, and other students. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using actual construction projects as a backdrop for the capstone class and of working directly with the construction industry as an educational experience. The success of this first year has lead to continued interest from the construction community to be part of this program.


Capstone design courses are recognized as an important part of the Engineering curriculum.1 The University of North Texas Construction Engineering Technology program is a new program that has recently graduated its first undergraduate class. Due to the small class size and newness of the program, it was necessary to determine an effective and economical way of meeting the students various needs in a capstone course. Larger universities divide their capstone classes into sections reflecting the student specialties, i.e. residential, commercial and heavy highway construction. With the first graduating class at 16 students and the second to be 11 students, dividing the class into different sections is impractical.

It is also desirable to provide educational objectives that meet industries’ needs while making students competitive in the employment market. A study of capstone courses2 showed that there was a gap between what faculty emphasizes and the corresponding industry expectations. Directly involving industry in the capstone class closes this gap.

The construction program is in the Department of Engineering Technology; accordingly the senior design class was patterned after the established curriculum which consists of two consecutive two-hour courses taken in the senior year. This is ideal for construction in that two semesters (nine months) time is sufficient to follow a construction project. This led to the need to

Arnold, A. (2010, June), Construction Industry Involvement In The Capstone Senior Design Class Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16407

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