Asee peer logo

Designettes in Capstone: Initial Design Experiences to Enhance Students' Implementation of Design Methodology

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Capstone Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.473.1 - 26.473.22



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Cory A Cooper United States Air Force Academy

visit author page

Major Cory Cooper is currently an Assistant Professor of Systems Engineering and Capstone Coordinator at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) in
Colorado Springs, Colorado. He holds a PhD an MSc in Systems Engineering from the Technical University of Delft and the Air Force Institute of Technology respectively. He has held various developmental engineering and program management positions in the US Air Force, to include Deputy Director for Airworthiness in the F-35 Lightning II Program Office, deployed Joint Combat Damage Assessor for US/Coalition/Contractor/Afghan aircraft in
Afghanistan, Chief of Operations for the Systems Engineering Program at USAFA, Mechanical Systems Engineer in the C/KC-135 Program Office, and deployed Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Engineer for B-1B aircraft.

visit author page

author page

Michael Lawrence Anderson P.E. United States Air Force Academy, Department of Engineering Mechanics

author page

Chad Bruce

author page

Sarah Galyon Dorman


Daniel D. Jensen U.S. Air Force Academy

visit author page

Dr. Dan Jensen is a Professor of Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Academy where he has been since 1997. He received his B.S. (Mechanical Engineering), M.S. (Applied Mechanics) and Ph.D. (Aerospace Engineering Science) from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has worked for Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, NASA, University of the Pacific, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and MSC Software Corp. His research includes design of Micro Air Vehicles, development of innovative design methodologies and enhancement of engineering education. Dr Jensen has authored over 100 refereed papers and has been awarded over $4 million of research grants.

visit author page

author page

Kevin Otto


Kristin L. Wood Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

visit author page

Dr. Kristin L. Wood is currently a Professor and Head of Pillar, Engineering and Product Development (EPD), and Co-Director of the SUTD-MIT International Design Center (IDC) at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Dr. Wood completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology, where he was an AT&T Bell Laboratories Ph.D. Scholar. Dr. Wood joined the faculty at the University of Texas in September 1989 and established a computational and experimental laboratory for research in engineering design and manufacturing, in addition to a teaching laboratory for prototyping, reverse engineering measurements, and testing. During his academic career, Dr. Wood was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy. Through 2011, Dr. Wood was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Design & Manufacturing Division at The University of Texas at Austin. He was a National Science Foundation Young Investigator, the “Cullen Trust for Higher Education Endowed Professor in Engineering,” “University Distinguished Teaching Professor,” and the Director of the Manufacturing and Design Laboratory (MaDLab) and MORPH Laboratory. Dr. Wood has published more than 350 refereed articles and books; has received more than 40 national and international awards in design, research, and education; and is currently a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Mini-Design Projects in Capstone: Initial Design Experiences to Enhance Students’ Implementation of Design MethodologyCapstone design courses are intended to provide a culminating experience for seniorundergraduate engineering majors. Universities vary in how they implement the instructionand implementation of the design process in their capstone courses. For example, many have aseparate class in design methods, followed by a one-semester capstone course where teamswork on a “design, build, test” project. Other institutions teach design methodologyincorporated into the capstone design project in what is often a two-semester capstonesequence. In the cases where design methodology is incorporated into a two-semestercapstone course, it is possible that this is the students’ first extensive exposure to designmethods and process. In that case, students may be experiencing methods such as “CustomerNeeds Analysis”, “Functional Decomposition”, “Concept Generation”, “Concept Selection” and“Prototype Planning” for the first time. From a constructivist educational standpoint, it can beproblematic for students to apply these design techniques for the first time on what is often acomplex, real world capstone design problem. One solution to this problem is to incorporate ashort “mini-design” experience at the beginning of the two-semester capstone course. This canallow the students an initial experience with the design methods that can provide a “learningscaffold” for their implementation of the full suite of design methods over the course of a two-semester project. For the last two years, we have implemented two versions of a mini-designproject in our two-semester capstone design sequence. In both cases of our use of the mini-design project, the suite of five core design methods mentioned above were taught in anabbreviated form. However, one year’s mini-design project lasted seven lessons while theother lasted only three lessons. The longer mini-design allowed for greater depth in the initialcoverage of the methods and also provided greater time for prototyping and testing. Of coursethis was at the cost of consuming a greater percentage of the overall time allocated for theactual capstone design project. This paper reports on the implementation details of the mini-design projects, focusing in particular on advantages and disadvantages of the two differentimplementations. Faculty and student feedback indicated that the use of the mini-design doesincrease student familiarity with the design methods. However, more subtle questions such asthe number of lessons allocated for the mini-design and the depth of coverage of the designmethods have much more complicated assessment results.

Cooper, C. A., & Anderson, M. L., & Bruce, C., & Galyon Dorman, S., & Jensen, D. D., & Otto, K., & Wood, K. L. (2015, June), Designettes in Capstone: Initial Design Experiences to Enhance Students' Implementation of Design Methodology Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23811

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: © 2015 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