St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.306.1 - 5.306.13
Framework for Organization and Control of Capstone Design/Build Projects Darrell D. Massie, Cheryl A. Massie United States Military Academy/Flack + Kurtz Consulting Engineers
Senior design capstone projects frequently require team members to self-organize for a project and then execute the design/build portion within a resource-constrained environment. This is usually challenging for inexperienced students who are struggling with technical as well as program management and team building issues. This paper outlines a general framework that can be used by students and faculty advisors to outline goals and objectives and to facilitate communication among team members.
Key to student projects is how the student team leader communicates vision for project accomplishment, organizes the project and then ensures team members fully understand their contributions and major performance objectives. Once performance objectives and individual responsibilities are fixed, team members can use the framework as a guide to resource, design and build the project. Since each team member has a vested interest in a specific aspect (subset) of the overall project, program management is aided. If properly used, the framework will facilitate communication among team members and minimize confusion normally accompanying an inexperienced team. Faculty advisors can also use the framework to mentor students and ultimately evaluate student performance for grade assignment. This system was used to design and build the United States Military Academy Sunrayce vehicle (solar powered car), a large multi-discipline project that spanned a two-year design/build period.
Senior design capstone projects frequently require team members to self organize and then execute the design/build portion within a resource-constrained environment. This is usually challenging for inexperienced students who are struggling with technical as well as program management and team building issues. This, coupled with the adoption of Engineering Criteria 20001 and the requirement to work on interdisciplinary teams, makes projects even more challenging.
There also appears to be a general lack of ability by students to function on teams.2,3 We agree with Lewis et al.4, that engineering faculty cannot afford to take a chance to leave team building processes to students without some guidance. It is also not enough to give students a conceptual model of teaming skills, such as presented by Carley.5 Students are unable to translate these skills into practice. They are simply overwhelmed and often do not have the proper background for building effective teams. In general, it has also been our observation that students do not learn a great deal from a project that has failed miserably. This is not to say that students should not be allowed to fail, only that a dismal failure (especially if due to lack of organization) is usually accompanied by less learning. The goal then, is to focus students so that they learn from
Massie, D. D., & Massie, C. A. (2000, June), Framework For Organization And Control Of Capstone Design/Build Projects Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8391
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