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Globalization: A New Frontier For Capstone Courses

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Global Engineering in an Interconnected World

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.648.1 - 13.648.16



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Paper Authors

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Gregg Warnick Brigham Young University


Spencer Magleby Brigham Young University

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Spencer Magleby is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean in the Fulton College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University. He came to BYU in 1989 after 6 years in the aircraft industry developing tools for advanced aircraft design and manufacture. Dr. Magleby received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin where his research centered on design. He has pursued research in design tools and processes, team formation and management, and commercialization of new mechanism technologies. Dr. Magleby teaches design at the graduate and undergraduate level, and is interested in educational partnerships with industry, and international issues in design. He has been involved with the Capstone Program at BYU since its inception, and has also worked to establish special graduate programs in Product Development. He is an active member of ASME and ASEE.

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Robert Todd Brigham Young University

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Alan Parkinson Brigham Young University

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



The world we live in is constantly changing. Engineers must not only understand the fundamentals of math, science and engineering, but must also be prepared to work within a global environment. Engineers commonly work in multinational corporations or are involved in work that requires communication and collaboration across international boundaries.

Over the last twenty years, capstone courses have become widespread as major contributors to better prepare engineering students for their leadership roles in industry1. As educators we need to ask ourselves how capstone courses can contribute to a new frontier of globalization needed in engineering education.

This paper will explore: • The reality of globalization • The history and evolution of capstone courses • Several learning activities currently pursued by engineering programs throughout the country aimed at preparing students for globalization. • A sampling of globalization activities currently occurring in some capstone courses in the United States • A summary of the experiences that Brigham Young University is pursuing to provide international opportunities for engineering and technology students • A building block model to improve and evaluate the likelihood of achieving international learning outcomes in engineering education


Students, educators, government agencies, global enterprises, local firms and entrepreneurs are all affected by globalization. As educators we must not only prepare students to understand the fundamentals of math, science and engineering, but must also prepare students to work within a global environment. Duane Abata, former president of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), indicated that there needs to be a “major revolution in engineering education. We must internationalize our curriculum; to include ….intercultural interaction….We must mold our students to be entrepreneurs, and spirited international adventures as well”2. We need to ask ourselves how capstone courses can contribute to the new frontier of globalization needed in engineering and technology education. What can we learn from other globalization efforts for engineering students that will help us modify capstone courses to better prepare engineering students for leadership roles in a global environment?

Engineering education’s charge is to develop engineers who, “must design under—and so understand at a deep level—constraints that include global, technical, cultural, and business contexts”3. This charge challenges engineering programs to prepare engineers with sufficient knowledge to function and communicate cross-culturally4-5.

Warnick, G., & Magleby, S., & Todd, R., & Parkinson, A. (2008, June), Globalization: A New Frontier For Capstone Courses Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3744

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