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Enhancing The Undergraduate Research Experience In A Senior Design Context

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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

15.519.1 - 15.519.21



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Paper Authors


Farrokh Attarzadeh University of Houston

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FARROKH ATTARZADEH earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston in 1983. He is an associate professor in the Engineering Technology Department, College of Technology at the University of Houston. He teaches software programming, operating systems, digital logic, and is in charge of the senior project course in the Computer Engineering Technology Program. He has developed a concept referred to as EMFA (Electromechanical Folk Art) as a vehicle to attract young students to the STEM fields. He is the Associated Editor for student papers at the Technology Interface Journal (, and Chair, Conference/Organization Member Affairs for IAJC ( He is a member of ASEE and has been with the University of Houston since 1983.

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Enrique Barbieri University of Houston

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ENRIQUE BARBIERI received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from The Ohio State University in 1988. He was on the faculty of the Electrical Engineering Department (1988-96), and Chair of the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department (1996-98) at Tulane University. In 2002 he joined the University of Houston as Professor & Chair of the Department of Engineering Technology. In September 2009, he was appointed Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies for the College of Technology. His teaching and research interests are in control systems and applications to electromechanical systems. He is a member of IEEE and ASEE and represents the Texas Gulf Coast region on the Executive Council of the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center.

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Miguel Ramos University of Houston

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

Enhancing the Undergraduate Research Experience in a Senior Design Context


The paper presents an instructional framework developed by the authors that engages senior students in a 5-credit Research and Development course incorporating project development, implementation, entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, teamwork, and communication. The paper discusses the development and accomplishments of the course over the past four years in the context of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) - an initiative at the University of Houston intended to encourage the development and enhancement of undergraduate research skills. The philosophy behind the course is to provide training and real world, small-scale project experience through the completion of a full-project lifecycle from conceptualization to prototype. Brief discussion of those projects that resulted in provisional patents, refereed journal publications, and conference presentations will be given. Some of the features of the course, such as University and industry guest speaker series and final project evaluation by the department’s Industrial Advisory Board, leading professionals, faculty, technical staff and peers will be examined. The paper concludes by outlining a set of short term and long term goals for the future direction of the course.


Engineering and engineering technology disciplines consider senior project courses an important and even critical curricular component. In the past, many publications centered on general reporting regarding capstone course development, implementation and improvement1, 2 and adding an industry collaboration component to the capstone courses3, 4 . After the ABET 2K guidelines5 were released, many established capstone courses added a systematic assessment component6, 7, 8. Recently, interest in the entrepreneurial and commercial dimensions of this work and inclusion of these concepts in capstone courses is on the rise9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

The Senior Project course at the Computer Engineering Technology (CET) program, University of Houston is relatively young. As part of an effort to streamline the CET program in Engineering Technology (ET), the department decided to change the scope and redefine the course such that it was possible to measure student mastery of knowledge and skills in the CET program.

Prior to the changes, the course had consisted of three hours of lecture and a one hour laboratory. In this format, the course covered topics such as Op-Amps, ADC/DAC, interfacing, signal conditioning, microprocessor I/O, bus structure, and some machine language. The course was more hardware oriented with a very limited software component and did not have any laboratory assistant support.

During the revision phase, the authors recognized that most of these topics were covered earlier in the CET curriculum. The laboratory component consisted of several small

Attarzadeh, F., & Barbieri, E., & Ramos, M. (2010, June), Enhancing The Undergraduate Research Experience In A Senior Design Context Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16928

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