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How Universal Are Capstone Design Course Outcomes?

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Capstone Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.645.1 - 8.645.16



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Paper Authors

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Steven Beyerlein

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Phillip Thompson

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Denny Davis

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Larry McKenzie

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Kenneth Gentili

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

Session 2425

How Universal are Capstone Design Course Outcomes?

Denny Davis, Steven Beyerlein, Phillip Thompson, Kenneth Gentili, Larry McKenzie

Washington State University/University of Idaho/Seattle University/ Tacoma Community College/Duke Energy


Capstone design courses are prominent elements of engineering degree programs and are central to the development and assessment of student professional competencies for program accreditation. This paper describes a process for establishing broadly-applicable capstone design course learning outcomes and proposes a set that may become universally applicable across programs and disciplines. These capstone course outcome definitions will guide faculty in creation of improved instructional materials and methods for facilitating engineering-practice-oriented student learning. They also provide a foundation upon which broadly-applicable assessments of student learning can be developed to address the nationwide challenge for capstone course instructors to assess student achievement of important program outcomes.

Capstone course learning outcomes were derived from the attributes of top quality engineers, both upon graduation and five years after graduation, as defined by a team of faculty and industry engineers collaborating across disciplines and organizations. The attributes of top quality engineers include: (1) motivation, (2) technical competence, (3) judgment and decision making, (4) innovation, (5) client/quality focus, (6) business orientation, (7) product development, (8) professional/ethical, (9) teamwork, (10) change management, and (11) communication. These attributes span ABET engineering criteria 3 and 4 requirements.

A set of broadly-applicable capstone course learning outcomes is presented to address needs for developing the attributes of top quality engineers and to match capstone course objectives within engineering curricula.

Introduction and Objectives

Introduction and Rationale

Capstone design courses occupy strategic positions in engineering baccalaureate degree programs. They provide senior engineering students open-ended project experiences with a

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Beyerlein, S., & Thompson, P., & Davis, D., & McKenzie, L., & Gentili, K. (2003, June), How Universal Are Capstone Design Course Outcomes? Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12693

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