July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
This paper introduces the engineering capstone senior design project as a story- building platform. While capstone design typically prepares students for professional careers it can also be seen and structured as a holistic story-building experience. Students from various backgrounds build their own stories as they participate in a multidisciplinary project. A typical story involves actors/characters, setting, and plot. Students gravitate to a story that involves curiosity, adventure, challenge, risk-taking, suspense, and reward. A particular example of story-building is the two-year “Badger” senior design project, which began with a “reconnaissance mission” to Silicon Valley the spring before the project started. The Silicon Valley “Mission Trip”, known as the “Caleb and Joshua Project” (named after a specific incident in Israel’s history) was initiated to connect potential sponsor companies with real-world problems to our senior design teams. Smaller businesses, particularly startups, often present dynamic situations where there is a greater chance for a project to entail a broader scope and a holistic platform. While most industry projects involve collaboration with a local company or projects from a partner company, out of the visit in search of an original project from Silicon Valley came an industry request for a goose-chasing robot for use on golf courses, where Canadian geese are an expensive nuisance. Many stories include introduction, challenge or crisis to be overcome, and resolution. In the case of capstone design the challenges were (1) to develop a design that met the problem specifications and satisfied a need within a potential market, (2) to connect the individual components within the larger story, (3) to unify a team from multiple disciplines, as well as (4) to complete the project in the midst of a pandemic. The “Badger” project involved students from Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Marketing. The goal (resolution) was for students to learn design and collaboration in an industry model and yet a non-threatening environment. An unexpected outcome was the enjoyment provided by the project. Similar wide-scale projects were undertaken by a team designing a portable surgical table and a team developing a programmable pacifier. With faculty agreement a small school primarily driven by engineering (a Polytechnic University) can leverage its multi-disciplinary senior design projects to embrace such diverse areas as liberal arts and theology. Student feedback showed that exposure to widely different perspectives during their project participation created additional stresses but enhanced their own story as a career- building component and created lasting memories as well.
Kim, H., & Leiffer, P. R., & Neal, L. K., & Mays, K., & Kim, J. W. (2021, July), Engineering Capstone Senior Design Project as a Story-Building Platfom Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37053
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: © 2021 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