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Implementation of a Multi-disciplinary Systems Engineering Capstone Design Course at Three Puerto Rican Universities

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Capstone Design Projects and Courses

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, and Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.725.1 - 25.725.10



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Paper Authors


Michele Miller Michigan Technological University

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Michele Miller is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. She teaches classes on manufacturing and does research in engineering education with particular interest in hands-on ability, lifelong learning, and project-based learning.

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John K. Gershenson Michigan Technological University


Amilcar Alejandro Rincon-Charris Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon

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Amilcar A. Rincon-Charris was born on Barranquilla, Colombia, 1976. He will receive a Ph.D. in control and robotics from the Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain in 2012, and he graduated with a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez in 2002, and in mechanical engineering from the Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia in 1999. He worked for about 12 years in the control and automation area. Now, he is the Director, full-time professor, and researcher in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon. He has published articles in fault detection and diagnosis.

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Carlos A. Alvarado Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico

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Jose A. Rojas Universidad del Turabo

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Implementation of a Multi-Disciplinary Systems Engineering Capstone Design Course at Three Puerto Rican UniversitiesAs engineering teams undertake more high-risk, low-cost and complex multi-disciplinaryprojects, it is necessary to have a design process that is agile and accommodating of technologychange. The tools and methods of a structured design process support such projects. In addition,most engineering curricula do not address systems engineering topics and systems integrationissues. This project adapted and implemented a multi-disciplinary systems engineering course atthree Puerto Rican universities that serves students in multiple programs (including mechanical,electrical, and industrial engineering students) at each university. The course, which waspreviously developed, accommodates multi-disciplinary projects and complex systems projects.Although the three Puerto Rican universities participating in this project have relatively youngengineering programs in comparison with US universities, they are endeavoring towardproviding an education of excellence to their students. Many of their graduates go to work forUS companies in Puerto Rico or on the mainland, and others go into US graduate programs. Thecapstone design experience plays an important role in developing their potential for a successfulengineering career. The need for engineers trained in systems engineering design also becomesimperative for Puerto Rico with the establishment in recent years of aerospace design andmanufacturing companies like InfoTech (Pratt & Whitney), Honeywell, and HamiltonSundstrand.Approximately 20 faculty members attended a series of training workshops. In the first workshopfaculty learned about the tools and methods of a structured design process for systemsengineering projects. In the second, they developed syllabi for their new courses. To do this,they selected from a menu of modular content to construct courses appropriate for theirrespective universities. In the third workshop, faculty received training on assessment bestpractices and agreed on a common assessment process (including a common set of attributes toassess).The new courses were implemented in two programs in the 2010-11 academic year andimplemented in additional programs in the 2011-12 academic year. Baseline assessment datawere taken for projects in the 2009-10 academic year and compared to data in subsequent years.This paper will describe the lessons learned in adapting and implementing the systemsengineering-based multi-disciplinary capstone design courses. It will describe the developmentof the process for assessing student learning in the new capstone courses. Finally, it will presentassessment results that demonstrate the effectiveness of the new courses.

Miller, M., & Gershenson, J. K., & Rincon-Charris, A. A., & Alvarado, C. A., & Rojas, J. A. (2012, June), Implementation of a Multi-disciplinary Systems Engineering Capstone Design Course at Three Puerto Rican Universities Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21482

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