Asee peer logo

Engineering Senior Design Course (“New And Improved”)

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

DEED Potpourri

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.496.1 - 15.496.7

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Singli Garcia-Otero Virginia State University

author page

Ehsan Sheybani Virginia State University

Download Paper |

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

Engineering Senior Design Course (“New and Improved”) Abstract

Senior Design is one of the most important courses in an engineering curriculum, because Senior Design utilizes much of the knowledge and skills gained during the undergraduate study. Therefore, many program outcomes for the engineering curriculum can be assessed in the Senior Design course1,2,3.

Before 2007, the senior design course in our relatively new Computer Engineering program was similar to a Master’s thesis, was mainly focused on technical knowledge, and was especially focused on building a working prototype. Each student had his own technical advisor. However, we realized that this focus did not teach the early stages of design (such as literature search, market study, and cost analysis) and did not adequately emphasize soft skills (such as working effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team, understanding professional and ethical responsibilities, understanding the impact of engineering solutions, communicating effectively, and learning by oneself). Therefore, we revised the Senior Design course to include these topics.

This paper describes the restructured (“new and improved”) Senior Design course, including: how the student teams are formed, the early design stages, prototyping and test, oral presentations, and conference attendance for the last two years. The students’ evaluation methods and outcomes assessments are also presented. Finally, the problems and challenges in the Senior Design course are discussed. Overall, this “new and improved” Senior Design course helps students to develop many skills which were not previously developed. As one example of a successful student project, “Sense-o-matic Cane: Ungrounded Detection for the Blind” won Second Place in Technology and Engineering at the 2008 HBCU-UP National Research conference.


The Computer Engineering Program at the Virginia State University, a small Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), was established in 2001 as a traditional program of study, with most of the freshman directly graduated from high school. The program underwent ABET accreditation during the 2006-2007 academic year for the first time, and the first cohort of students graduated from the program in May 2006.

Senior Design was initially a one-semester course with multiple teachers. Each teacher taught a distinct section. Each student selected his own teacher/section. Generally there were 3 or 4 sections, each section having only 1 to 3 students. One problem with this initial structure was that the sections were very non-uniform. Another problem was that the class focused almost exclusively on building a working prototype, and neglected the overall process of design (especially soft skills).

In order to prepare our students for the local and globalized workplace, the Senior Design course was restructured during Fall 2007. The restructured Senior Design course is two semesters

Garcia-Otero, S., & Sheybani, E. (2010, June), Engineering Senior Design Course (“New And Improved”) Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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: © 2010 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