June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Design in Engineering Education
12.1141.1 - 12.1141.17
PACE Global Vehicle Collaboration Introduction
Capstone design teams have become an integral part of undergraduate engineering education. Through these programs, students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to actual design projects. Capstone classes provide distinct benefits to students who participate in them. Students are able to put to use their newly acquired “text-book” design experience in real engineering applications. Also, students are able to participate in professional activities such as writing technical papers, submitting patents, and holding design reviews. All these activities occur in a classroom atmosphere under instructor supervision. The companies that are able to collaborate with these students on these projects also enjoy the ability to observe potential employees prior to actually hiring them. They typically also retain the rights to any intellectual property produced by these students during the duration of their capstone courses.
Traditional Capstone Design Course Limitations
Capstone design courses are not without their limitations, however. Typically, small businesses are most interested in participating in capstone design projects. Because of their substantial financial resources, larger businesses are typically able to provide their own internal training procedures; therefore, they are less interested in becoming involved in school instituted projects. Since many of the companies that sponsor these projects are smaller, they often lack the resources to provide a consummate design experience for these students. Some of the aspects current capstone design teams lack are: cutting-edge software integration, international collaboration, and experience with a large corporative structure.
Large corporations are using computers to solve engineering problems more now than ever. A vast myriad of engineering software is available to provide accurate and comprehensive solutions to many of the problems engineers face today. Albeit these solutions will always need to be verified either by empirical results or analytical methods, computer software continues to make engineering analysis more complex and more thorough. Capstone projects should strive to incorporate these software tools to more fully simulate an actual work experience. Recent research indicates that a lack of authenticity is one of the current drawbacks to capstone design experiences. 1 The use of real industry software tools and analysis packages offers students a more authentic experience than would otherwise be available.
Since the inception of advanced communication devices and transportation equipment, the world has, in a sense, become smaller. The world has become a global marketplace, in which companies must understand a large global picture to remain competitive. Without a global perspective, large corporations soon become outdated and unprofitable. More and more engineers are being called upon to assist in technology transfers, international design collaborations, and global manufacturing issues. In a survey of students that participated in a recent global product development course, German researchers Dutta and Weilbut reported that over 80 percent of those that participated felt that the global team approach added “tremendous value to the course”.2 Students also seemed to indicate that they would like to participate in similar projects again given the chance.
Webster, M., & Korth, D., & Carlson, O., & Jensen, C. G. (2007, June), Pace Global Vehicle Collaboration Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2485
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