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Incorporating Liberal Education Concepts Into Engineering Technology Senior Design Course At Miami University

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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

Integrating HSS into the Engineering Curriculum

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.688.1 - 8.688.16



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Paper Authors

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Dave Hergert

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Ron Earley

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Suguna Bommaraju

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

Session 502


Suguna Bommaraju, Ron Earley, Dave Hergert

Miami University, Ohio


The LEC (Liberal education council) at Miami University monitors and guides the incorporation of liberal education component in capstone course in the engineering technology department. Specifically, the focus points of the liberal education outlined in Miami bulletin1 are critical thinking, understanding contexts, engaging with others, reflecting and acting. The senior design course is embedded with these attributes so that the student graduates with a well-rounded education.

This paper describes how the engineering technology capstone course (senior design project) at Miami University has been structured to facilitate Liberal education council’s guidelines. The four components of liberal education are explained in this paper and a discussion of how each of these attributes is enhanced in the course is presented. For example, the capstone course offers a unique opportunity to learn about ethics (understanding contexts attribute). Because the department does not have a separate ethics course, a guest speaker lecture on ethics is arranged in the senior design course. Students apply this concept to a hypothetical scenario specific to their project and present it in their reflective essay (reflecting and acting attribute).

Capstone design courses are now widely incorporated into senior year undergraduate engineering curriculum at most universities. Many papers are published on the need to integrate issues such as ‘ethical, environmental, service awareness’, into capstone design courses. The focus is to enable engineering students to understand and appreciate, respect and possibly even value perspectives other than core engineering discipline. For example, the electrical and computer engineering department at Boston University uses the capstone course to introduce social awareness to their senior design teams. 2 Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) uses EAC (ethics across the curriculum) to integrate ethics into technical classes. OIT provides an opportunity to participate in EAC seminars to increase their expertise for integrating ethics in technical courses.3 The First National survey of seminars/capstone courses (707 institutions across the United States participated) reveals the following: Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Hergert, D., & Earley, R., & Bommaraju, S. (2003, June), Incorporating Liberal Education Concepts Into Engineering Technology Senior Design Course At Miami University Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12402

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