June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Design in Engineering Education
26.473.1 - 26.473.22
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
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