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It Takes Two To Teach Capstone Design

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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

DEED Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.819.1 - 13.819.8



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Paper Authors


Don Dekker University of South Florida

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Don Dekker is currently an Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida. He is currently teaching three of his favorite courses Mechanical Engineering Laboratory I, Internal Combustion Engines, and Capstone Design. Before his retirement in 2001, Don taught at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He first joined ASEE in 1974 and some of his ASEE activities include Zone II Chairman (86-88), Chairman of DEED (89-90), and General Chair of FIE†87. His degrees are: PhD, Stanford University, 1973; MSME, University of New Mexico, 1963; and BSME, Rose Polytechnic Institute, 1961. He became a Fellow of ASEE in 2007.

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Stephen Sundarrao University of South Florida

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Rajiv Dubey University of South Florida

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

It Takes Two To Teach Capstone Design Introduction:

The Capstone Design course at The University of South Florids is a wonderful example of how two heads are better than one. In fact, two people are necessary to operate a Capstone Design course. Directing the student teams, grading tests and papers, and preparing discussions in a Capstone Design course is a full course load. In addition to these usual responsibilities, the instructor for a Capstone Design course is often required to visit industry and non-profit organizations to find the projects for students to develop. It seems commonplace for academic institutions to expect this extra effort from Capstone Design teachers, but this is unrealistic. Capstone Design is a wonderful course to teach because of the mature, motivated students and the exciting projects, but it shouldn’t be a time-consuming backbreaker for the instructor.

Course Logistics:

The Capstone Design course is a one semester, 15 week class, which is organized into two sections of 25 to 30 students. This scheduling allows 100 to 120 seniors to take Capstone Design each year. The instructor of this course works with the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology, and the Center supplies suggestions for the projects. The Center suggests projects that they have collected throughout the State of Florida to improve the quality of life and/or the work life of people who need assistance or have some dreams that have not been realized. The student teams can also develop a project topic from their own ideas.

During the 2006-07 academic year there were 21 teams, and the total cost for parts, machining, and materials for their projects was approximately $10,000. The co-instructor from the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology has the industrial contacts to schedule guest speakers, the expertise to give some lectures, and the authority to approve the monetary expenditures for the parts and equipment from the budget of the Center. He also has excellent contacts and invaluable expertise in the rehabilitation industry. These projects were described at the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition.1

Team Activities:

The student teams need to work together and develop teamwork skills to do the required parts of the engineering design processes. The teams begin by selecting a topic, then they clarify their project definition, including specifications. Next, the teams search for different concepts, evaluate the concepts, select a concept, bring the design to form during the embodiment design phase, detail the design, and draw the parts. The design is taken to the machine shop, where the parts are found, specifically made, or ordered, and then the prototype is assembled. Of course, they must also write a report and make a professional presentation. All of this is completed in a fifteen-week semester. The students also they submit individual assignments, learn to work as a team, develop their design, and learn about the engineering design processes.

The following list summarizes the activities of a typical student team:

Dekker, D., & Sundarrao, S., & Dubey, R. (2008, June), It Takes Two To Teach Capstone Design Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3297

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