June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.536.1 - 13.536.12
Enhancing and Assessing Life Long Learning Skills through Capstone Projects
With rapid advances in new technology, graduates from an engineering technology program have to constantly acquire new knowledge and skills during their professional career. Thus, one of the ABET program outcomes requires students to recognize the need for, and an ability to engage in lifelong learning. In most of the Engineering Technology (ET) programs, capstone projects are designed for students to utilize their technical knowledge, problem solving skills, and project management skills to develop a product or a system related to their discipline. This paper presents a methodology of utilizing the capstone course as a vehicle to enhance and assess student’s life long learning skills. During the semester long course, one student team signed up to learn the subject of adhesive technology that is not taught in the current curriculum. The student team designed and built an adhesive test apparatus that can be used for outreach activities. Another student team was assigned to learn rapid prototyping. The student team installed a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) rapid prototyping machine and designed and produced FDM parts for demonstrations. To assess student learning, surveys on students’ knowledge and skill in adhesive technology and rapid prototyping were conducted at the beginning and the end of the semester. The paper summarizes the survey results and discusses the students’ self learning experience.
Preparing students to become lifelong learners is one of the most important functions of college education. Lifelong learners are more likely to succeed as they can quickly acquire new knowledge and skills to perform well in their jobs. Therefore, one of the ABET program outcomes requires students to recognize the need for, and an ability to engage in lifelong learning1. While engineering or engineering technology programs seldom offer specific course to teach lifelong learning skills, there are various means to prepare students to meet this ABET criterion. One of such means is to provide opportunities to encourage and evaluate self learning. Students who are capable of self learning are better prepared to become a lifelong learners.
This paper reports the experience of using a capstone course as a vehicle to enhance and assess student’s self learning skills. Capstone project course which integrates theory, design, and construction is a common requirement for engineering technology programs2. In the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) program at Texas A&M University, the capstone course is designed for students to acquire valuable integrating experience. With the prerequisite, the students enrolled in the course have the required technical competency and the background in fundamentals of project and people management. The projects are normally selected from a list of problems provided by faculty members or industry advisors. In addition to the instructor of the capstone course, a faculty member or an industry advisor serves as a “sponsor” of the project. Student teams are organized to match students’ backgrounds and interests with the proposed problems. Student teams, consisting of three to five students per team, make their own decisions on work hours and job assignments. If a project involves implementing the students’ design, a budget normally is available from the project
Wang, J., & Fang, A., & Johnson, M. (2008, June), Enhancing And Assessing Life Long Learning Skills Through Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3244
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