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Freshman Senior Collaboration In A Capstone Design Course

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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

Design Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.647.1 - 10.647.16



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Paper Authors

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John Hochstein

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William Janna

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

FRESHMAN-SENIOR COLLABORATION IN A CAPSTONE DESIGN COURSE John I. Hochstein, William S. Janna Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Memphis Memphis TN 38152

ABSTRACT An innovative capstone design course titled “Design of Fluid Thermal Systems,” involves groups of seniors working on various semester-long design projects. Groups are composed of 3, 4 or 5 members that bid competitively on various projects. Once projects are awarded, freshmen enrolled in the “Introduction to Mechanical Engineering” course are assigned to work with the senior design teams. The senior teams function like small consulting companies that employ co-operative education students; e.g., the freshmen. One objective of building this collaboration is a desire to increase the retention rate of the freshmen by involving them with the seniors in what appears to be interesting design work. Additionally, the seniors benefit by developing the ability to communicate their ideas to a non-technical, educated audience as their design work progresses. The Freshman-Senior Collaboration program began in Fall 2001. At the end of the Fall 2001 semester, the seniors were given assessment forms to complete, and among other things, the seniors recommended that the program be continued in the future. The program was continued in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The seniors and the freshmen both assessed the program in Fall 2002, and in 2004. In Fall 2004, a number of those who were freshmen in 2001 are now seniors. As seniors, they are now working with freshmen “co-ops.” At the end of the semester, the freshmen and the seniors were again given assessment forms to complete, and the following conclusions were drawn: • Overall, the seniors and the freshmen perceived the freshman-senior interaction as a rewarding experience • The seniors perceived their freshmen partners as able to make useful contributions. • Both the freshmen and the seniors gained an appreciation of the practical aspects of management through coordination with their partners. • The seniors were able to provide many experiential insights to the freshmen to enhance the freshmen design experience. • The seniors and the freshmen recommended that the program be continued in the future. Results of several specific design projects are highlighted, and the freshman-senior interaction is described. BACKGROUND

“Design of Fluid Thermal Systems” is a senior-level, capstone design course at the University of Memphis. Students in this course are divided into groups of 3, 4 or 5 members who work together as a team on a design project. Selected projects are presented to the design teams who must bid competitively on three of the projects. The design team with the lowest bid is awarded that particular project to work on for the entire semester. (See the text listed in the Bibliography for information on the bidding process.) Design teams function like companies and as such, each

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

Hochstein, J., & Janna, W. (2005, June), Freshman Senior Collaboration In A Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15218

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