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Experiences in Developing a Computer Engineering Capstone Design Course with a Start-up Company

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Capstone Design Courses I

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Andy S. Peng University of Wisconsin - Stout

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Andy S. Peng is an assistant professor with Computer Engineering Program in Engineering and Technology Department at University of Wisconsin - Stout since January 2014. Andy S. Peng is also a systems engineer staff at Lockheed Martin MST since November 2005. From May 2003 to April 2004, Andy held a graduate research intern position with Aerospace Electronic System (AES) group at Honeywell International Inc. From July 1999 to July 2002, Andy held hardware design, sustaining, and test engineering positions at Dell Inc. In the summer of 1998, Andy was a summer research fellow with the Mayo Clinic.
Andy S. Peng received the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from University of Minnesota, in 2010 and 2004, respectively. He received B.S. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Texas Tech University in 1999. His research interests include computer networks, network performance evaluation, network modeling and simulation, wireless sensor network, and engineering education.

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Brian Eickhoff Sentera, LLC Orcid 16x16


Kenan Baltaci University of Wisconsin - Stout

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Kenan Baltaci is an Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin-Stout, in the Electrical Engineering
Technology Department. He received B.S. in electrical engineering degree from Istanbul Technical University
in Turkey. Following, a master’s degree and doctoral degree in industrial technology was granted
from University of Northern Iowa.

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Liang Zhan University of Wisconsin - Stout Orcid 16x16

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Assistant Professor
Computer Engineering Program
University of Wisconsin-Stout

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Robert M. Nelson University of Wisconsin - Stout

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Robert M. Nelson is currently a Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Stout in Menomonie, WI. Dr. Nelson received a B.A. degree in mathematics from Northland College, Ashland, WI in 1977, the M.S.E.E. degree from Washington State University, Pullman, WA in 1981, and the Ph.D. from NDSU in 1987. He has been a member of the technical staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories, has served on the faculty of the University of Idaho, and at North Dakota State University, has consulted with Michigan Technological University and Lawrence Livermore National Labs; NDSU Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE); Sverdrup Technology (Eglin Air Force Base); Otter Tail Power Company; and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, New London, CT. Dr. Nelson has been working (teaching and research) in the area of applied electromagnetics, including antennas, transmission lines, microwave engineering, EMI/EMC since 1981.

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Engineering faculty responsible for leading capstone projects are often faced with challenges in defining project topics for students. There is an ongoing need for developing new project topics that can be tackled by teams of upper-division undergraduate students. In contrast, a small startup company often faces an overwhelming number of engineering tasks given limited resources to accomplish them. During early phases of establishing a profitable business, the small company may have many investigational type engineering projects that are needed but often left unsolved due to constraints in engineering resources. Some of these small-scale and yet critical projects are very suitable to be undertaken by students in their last academic year. The students can apply knowledge learned from the engineering curriculum to real-world projects in their senior capstone design class. This paper focuses on discussing our classroom experiences in integrating industry sponsored projects from a small startup company into a senior capstone design course in a computer engineering program. The capstone design course builds upon fundamentals of an ABET accredited computer engineering curriculum. The design course simulates real-world project experiences and offers an opportunity for students to learn new skill sets including the design, debug, build, and test of prototype systems as well as oral communications and knowledge in engineering ethics from a team oriented environment. The industry sponsor also benefits from the deliverables of each project. Details of sample projects and feedback from students in meeting course objectives are discussed in this paper.

Peng, A. S., & Eickhoff, B., & Baltaci, K., & Zhan, L., & Nelson, R. M. (2016, June), Experiences in Developing a Computer Engineering Capstone Design Course with a Start-up Company Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26810

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