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Global Confidence: U.S. Student Outcomes from an International Capstone Design Experience

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Hands-on/Experiential Learning

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.643.1 - 23.643.16



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Paper Authors


Daria A Kotys-Schwartz University of Colorado Boulder

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Daria Kotys-Schwartz is the Industry/University Cooperative Project Center Director and an Instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received B.S. and M.S degrees in mechanical engineering 
from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Kotys-Schwartz has focused her research in engineering student learning, retention, and identity development within the context of engineering design. She is currently investigating the impact of a four-year hands-on design curriculum in engineering, a holistic approach to student retention, the effects of service learning in engineering education, and informal learning in engineering.

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Chiang Shih Florida A&M University/Florida State University

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Dr. Chiang Shih is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Southern California in 1988 and joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering shortly after. He served the Chair of the Department from 2002 to 2011, during which time he led efforts in advancing both the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Department including the improvement of the senior capstone design project course sequence by providing students with real-world professional experience through the establishment of strong multidisciplinary and international collaborations. Dr. Shih's research interests are in the areas of unsteady aerodynamics, separated flow control, aero-acoustics, and optical diagnostic techniques. In recent years, Dr. Shih is responsible for the establishment of the Aeropropulsion, Mechatronics and Energy (AME) Center to build a coalition of multidisciplinary researchers in these three fields. He currently serves as the Director of the AME Center.

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Global Confidence: Student Outcomes from an International Capstone Design ExperiencePrevious studies have shown that international experiences for students can promotecross-cultural understanding, enhanced knowledge and skills, as well as globalpreparedness. Additionally, research in engineering education has demonstrated thatproject-based courses can increase student retention, motivation, problem-solving ability,communication skills, knowledge retention, teamwork skills and the capacity for self-directed learning. By placing a project-based course in an international context it wasanticipated that student participants would realize the benefits of study-abroad andproject-based learning.The ________ FIPSE program brings together a consortium of four universities: a largepublic research university in the south, a mid-size public research university in theMidwest, and two mid-size Brazilian universities to train post-secondary engineeringstudents for global engineering careers. Using design courses as a vehicle for student andfaculty collaboration — both U.S. and Brazilian students are exposed to technical,professional and cultural experiences that can only take place through a internationalexchange program. The ______ program addresses three overarching goals: 1) Create diverse teams of engineering students with the opportunity to learn engineering in a global context 2) Prepare students for global professional experiences by augment their cultural awareness 3) Establish long-term cross-cultural collaboration between consortium universitiesStudent participants in the ________ FIPSE program were surveyed pre and post andsemi-structured interviews were performed with each participant at the close of theexperience. In this paper, we discuss an overview of the program structure, program goalsand objectives, student outcomes, and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of thecurrent program. Additionally, recommendations are made for structuring internationalprograms that center around project-based courses.  

Kotys-Schwartz, D. A., & Shih, C. (2013, June), Global Confidence: U.S. Student Outcomes from an International Capstone Design Experience Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19657

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