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Implementation of Industry-Inspired Project Management Elements in an Entrepreneurial Capstone Sequence

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 1

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Paper Authors

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Jean Batista Abreu Elizabethtown College


Kurt Degoede Elizabethtown College

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Dr. DeGoede has focused his research on multidisciplinary biomechanics projects. He has also developed a study abroad program in West Africa built around collaborative social enterprise projects. An innovative educator, Dr. DeGoede has published several papers on teaching methods in engineering mechanics and capstone projects. He has presented Mastery-Based Learning workshops at ASEE for several colleges and universities.

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Tomas Estrada Elizabethtown College

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Tomás Estrada, Associate Professor of Engineering

Dr. Estrada received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de Costa Rica in 2002, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, also from the University of Notre Dame, in 2009.

Dr. Estrada firmly believes the faculty member needs to be a well-rounded teacher-scholar. He is deeply committed to fostering multi-disciplinary and holistic thinking in his students and to exemplifying it through his own scholarly work. His main research focus is Engineering Education. In particular, as an engineer, interdisciplinary thinker, and mindfulness practitioner, Dr Estrada is fascinated by the interconnections between technical content and our personal experiences. Hisresearch focuses on teaching and learning. In particular, Dr Estrada explores the design of classroom activities and course structures where students can develop synergies between mindful, personal experiences and course-specific technical topics, such as control systems or telecommunications.

Dr. Estrada explains his approach to teaching by using concepts from engineering, presenting the educational process as a feedback control system. From this perspective, one can visualize the value of constant improvement, effective communication, robustness and flexibility, as well as holistic thinking in education. Dr. Estrada hopes his enthusiasm and commitment to his teaching vision will allow him to help his students develop not just into better professionals, but into more insightful thinkers and more well-rounded people.

Outside of engineering, Dr. Estrada enjoys writing novels, singing at karaoke, traveling, watching/playing sports, and hosting Trivia Nights for his students.

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Brenda Read-Daily Elizabethtown College

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Dr. Read-Daily is an Associate Professor of Engineering at Elizabethtown College. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Bradley University and Masters and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Read-Daily teaches in the first-year as well as upper-level multidisciplinary and environmental engineering courses. She currently serves as the Engineering Program Director for her department.

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This paper explores the implementation of project management elements (PME) in a three-semester capstone course sequence. Following an entrepreneurial model, multidisciplinary teams of four or five students work on an engineering project of their choice, which involves design, fabrication, and testing. Teams are required to submit weekly PME designed based on an agile workflow. These submissions include weekly individual reports and team meeting minutes, documents similar to those that students can expect to use as working professionals or to manage their projects as part of an entrepreneurial start-up company.

Consulting engineering firms frequently require their employees to track work hours to appropriately bill clients and hold their workers accountable for their time. This structure inspired weekly individual reports for students working on senior capstone teams. The PME foment an entrepreneurial mindset by facilitating students’ ability, every single week, to recognize and identify opportunities, focus on the impact of their work, and create value for their project team. The individual reports include the number of hours spent on the project, tasks completed over the past week, work products, and tasks assigned for the upcoming week. Team meeting minutes include the time, date, and location of the group’s meeting, a meeting agenda, old business, new business, and a summary of discussion and decisions. The team meeting minutes also include peer-to-peer assessment of each member’s weekly performance in several categories. Consequently, team members use the PME structure to hold each other accountable. Continued low performance on PME can substantially reduce capstone grades for individual students.

PME provide students with a framework to work as professionals and, therefore, manage their teams effectively with minimal intervention from advisors. These skills are essential to supporting an entrepreneurial mindset. Students use PME to document problems such as lack of participation or limited contributions by a team member, allowing for earlier intervention, if necessary. Over the past several years, the evolving use of PME has resulted in improved productivity and less team conflict, as evidenced by peer evaluation metrics (from CATME). Also, instructors report reduced time assessing individual contributions.

Enabling students to complete their capstone projects while developing their project and team management skills provides a critical foundation for their professional lives. Alumni report how the senior capstone experience best prepared them for their working lives, even more so than their technical courses.

Batista Abreu, J., & Degoede, K., & Estrada, T., & Read-Daily, B. (2022, August), Implementation of Industry-Inspired Project Management Elements in an Entrepreneurial Capstone Sequence Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015