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Multi Campus Collaborations Among Undergraduate Design Teams: Opportunities And Challenges

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Teams and Teamwork in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.941.1 - 11.941.9



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Paper Authors


Carla Zoltowski Purdue University

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CARLA B. ZOLTOWSKI is Education Administrator of the EPICS Program at Purdue University. She received her BSEE and MSEE from Purdue University. She has served as a lecturer in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is a member of the ASEE

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William Oakes Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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WILLIAM C. OAKES is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Purdue University and the Co-Director of the EPICS Program. He is a co-recipient of the 2005 National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard M. Gordon Prize and the 2004 NSPE Engineering Education Excellence Award He is a past-chair of the ASEE IL/IN Section, and board member of Freshman Programs and Educational Research Methods Divisions.

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Barrett Myers Purdue University

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Barrett Myeters is a masters student in Computer Programming Technology. He received his B.S in Computer Science from the University of Kentucky in 2004. He is currently a graduate assistant with the EPICS Program at Purdue University.

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

Multi-Campus Collaborations among Undergraduate Design Teams: Opportunities and Challenges

Abstract There are many benefits to participating in multi-campus collaborations among project-based design teams. First, students gain experience in working in a distributed design environment, which is becoming more commonplace in engineering practice. Second, collaborations offer the ability to share complementary expertise and allow student design teams to participate in projects that they would not normally be able to undertake alone. Third, collaboration among teams of multiple campuses allows for sharing of prior work and the opportunity to build upon the work to have a more significant impact.

There are, however, challenges to participating in multi-campus collaborations. It is difficult for student teams to partition projects such that they can be done somewhat independently. Communication issues can be complicated by distance and the lack of face-to-face contact on a regular basis.

The EPICS - Engineering Projects in Community Service – program engages undergraduate student design teams on long-term projects that solve technology-based problems for local community service organizations. There are sixteen universities with active EPICS programs in the 2005-2006 academic year. While the programs have some variation as EPICS has been integrated into each individual campus, they share basic characteristics. The existence of EPICS programs on multiple campuses has created the opportunity to collaborate across institutions. This paper will describe three models for multi-campus collaboration that have been used in EPICS.

Introduction The importance of significant design experiences to prepare undergraduate engineering students for engineering careers has been well-documented 1, 2. These experiences typically emphasize the application of the technical skills as well as the professional skills such as communication, working as a team and customer interaction 3-5. The need for such experiences has spawned many innovative approaches to senior capstone design courses 6, 7 as well as design courses for underclassmen 8-11. Most of these courses are confined to one semester or quarter and are intended to give the students an intense exposure to the design process. The model that guided the creation of the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) curriculum was to involve each student for several semesters or even years on the same long-term project, so that each student would experience varying roles over the course of the project.

EPICS is built around the concept of long-term partnerships between student teams and not-for- profit organizations in the community. Community service agencies face a future in which they must rely to a great extent upon technology for the delivery, coordination, accounting, and improvement of the services they provide. They often possess neither the expertise to use nor the budget to design and acquire a technological solution that is suited to their mission. They thus

Zoltowski, C., & Oakes, W., & Myers, B. (2006, June), Multi Campus Collaborations Among Undergraduate Design Teams: Opportunities And Challenges Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1200

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: © 2006 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