Asee peer logo

Our First Experience With International Senior Design Projects – Lessons Learned

Download Paper |

Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

A Serving Profession: Service Learning in Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

11.976.1 - 11.976.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/510

Download Count

22

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

James Hanson Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. James Hanson is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He has been co-instructor of the senior design course for three years.

visit author page

biography

Robert Houghtalen Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. Robert Houghtalen is Professor and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He has been an instructor for the senior design course for 18 years.

visit author page

biography

Jesse Houghtalen Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Jesse Houghtalen is a senior undergraduate student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is a member of the senior design team working for a client in Trinidad.

visit author page

biography

Zachary Johnson Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Zach Johnson is a senior undergraduate student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is a member of the senior design team working for a client in Trinidad.

visit author page

biography

Matthew Lovell Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Matt Lovell is a senior undergraduate student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is a member of the senior design team working for a client in Trinidad.

visit author page

biography

Maria Van Houten Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Maria Van Houten is a senior undergraduate student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She is a member of the senior design team working for a client in Trinidad.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Our First Experience with International Senior Design Projects – Lessons Learned Abstract The advantages of international experiences for engineering students are well documented. With this in mind, we decided to take our 18-year-old, client-based, senior design class “on the road.” This foray into the realm of international projects did not come without some anxieties: • Could we properly manage such a long-distance project? • How much of a sacrifice would it be to forego a site visit? • Would codes and regulations be nonexistent or difficult to obtain? • Would our student team experience frustration from communication challenges? • Would we sacrifice technical depth for international breadth? And these are just a few of the many questions and concerns we anticipated.

This paper seeks to share our answers to these questions and to provide lessons learned for others to consider. Our focus in this paper is on a project in an underdeveloped country: Trinidad. We start out by addressing how we obtained our first international project and how we selected the student team. The student authors are the project team, and they supply the student perspective on the challenges and rewards. Results of surveys of the students who did domestic senior design projects are also included to show their perspective of their classmates’ project (based on oral reports given to the class). The faculty authors are co-instructors of the senior capstone design course, and they provide insight into administration of the project. The paper ends with a list of lessons learned that may help others to avoid the pitfalls the authors experienced.

Introduction The Rose-Hulman Civil Engineering Department began to use client-based projects for the capstone design experience in 1988. Initially, the project sponsors included the campus facilities department and Rose-Hulman alumni companies. However, confidence in the course structure and the student’s designs increased after a few years, and the range of clients, type of projects, and location of client companies began to expand. In fact, project solicitation is rare; more project requests come in each year than can be fulfilled.

The client-based projects are vetted and teams are selected early in the academic year. Project proposals by potential clients are received in August. The best projects are retained based on scope of work, variation in civil engineering disciplines, and faculty and client interest. Students vote on their top five choices based on project abstracts during the first week of class (more projects are available than teams). Teams of four are selected by the faculty based on student interest and team considerations.

The capstone design experience lasts a full year. The projects commence with a client meeting and a site visit. Full proposals to the client are due in the middle of the fall quarter. This provides students with a proposal writing experience and clarifies the project for the student team and the client. Progress reports are due in the middle of the winter quarter. These reports include data collection efforts, mapping, soil testing, codes and regulations research, design alternatives, and alternative evaluations. This sets the team up for the final design process. Final

Hanson, J., & Houghtalen, R., & Houghtalen, J., & Johnson, Z., & Lovell, M., & Van Houten, M. (2006, June), Our First Experience With International Senior Design Projects – Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/510

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