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Establishing Outcomes For Senior Capstone Projects In Industrial Technology

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Capstone/Design Projects: Industrial ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.584.1 - 10.584.11



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Schildgen

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Jon Duff

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

Establishing Outcomes for Senior Capstone Projects In Industrial Technology

Jon M. Duff, Thomas E. Schildgen Information and Management Technology Arizona State University


As part of continuous curriculum improvement and outcomes assessment for professional accreditation, the Department of Information and Management Technology at Arizona State University on the Polytechnic Campus determined that a mandatory senior project be established. The methodology for validating such a senior project included a descriptive survey of three constituent groups: students in upper division courses, faculty, and a jury of senior industry advisory board members. A comprehensive list of senior project key words was created from a broad sample of existing national senior project descriptions. An attitudinal survey instrument was created from this list of key words. The results of the survey were analyzed for the variability of response within and between constituent groups, and the direction of agreement on a five-point Likert scale. Conclusions were drawn as to which measures showed agreement or disagreement, and how those results might impact the implementation of the senior project course.

I. Introduction

Before instituting a senior project or capstone course, the Information and Management Technology Faculty at Arizona State University were interested in determining the level of agreement among students, faculty, and industrial advisory board members on outcomes exhibited by existing, successful programs that used this technique. Determining agreement before embarking on course design might point to outcomes that are important to one group but not to another. For example, if there are significant differences in how the three groups perceive the value of a senior project in initial and long-term employee success, additional investigation and intervention might be required.

Historically, the impetus for senior-level capstone experiences has come from industry. A review of literature available in engineering and technology education for the decade 1985-1995 shows considerable interest in the topic, both within academe and industry. Additional literature in the decade that followed shows lower interest. However, recent changes in accreditation guidelines that stress outcomes assessment have renewed interest in the topic.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), in the 2004 publication “Our Students’ Best Work: A Framework for Accountability Worthy of Our Mission,” cites the need for advanced capstone or culminating experiences that demonstrate knowledge in both liberal

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Schildgen, T., & Duff, J. (2005, June), Establishing Outcomes For Senior Capstone Projects In Industrial Technology Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15605

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