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Practitioner Driven Senior Design Capstone Course

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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

The Senior Experience: Capstone and Beyond

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1008.1 - 11.1008.16



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Paper Authors

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John Niehaus University of Cincinnati

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Anant Kukreti University of Cincinnati

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

Practitioner Driven Senior Design Capstone Course


The capstone design experience in an undergraduate engineering degree program is a course in which students draw upon various aspects of their undergraduate coursework to develop a comprehensive, engineered solution to an open-ended problem. Since Autumn Quarter 2000, the capstone senior design course in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at University of Cincinnati (UC) is executed as a three-quarter Integrated Design Sequence (IDS) course, offered in conjunction with a practicing professional engineer (client), and other practitioners and faculty members acting as mentors. IDS is an innovative and ambitious three-course series focusing on a single design theme with multiple components that encourage interaction among traditional CEE specialty areas (e.g., construction, environmental, geotechnical, structural, transportation, water resources). Students work in design teams, like a design firm, and submit feasibility, design and construction plans, and associated cost estimates for a real-world project. Students must interface with a “client” and a group (consisting of 6 to 8 members) of “industry advisors” or practitioners (who collectively act as owners) to gather data and information; the owners are also in the audience for final presentations. A specially Design Center houses all the teams. The whole experience stresses on communication and collaborative skills. This course is designed as a gateway to the profession. The deliverable each quarter is a set of plans with a written report. For the autumn quarter, the drawings show a conceptual plan. The product of the Winter Quarter is a set of design plans with details, specifications, quantities and a construction cost estimate, and the product of the Spring Quarter is a set of design plans simplified for better understanding by a non-technical audience. This paper describes four aspects to the IDS course: 1) description of the course goals and implementation; 2) a brief description of the projects executed; 3) grading process used; and 4) assessment of the project outcomes, objectives, and results. Hopefully, this documentation will help others in planning similar experiences for senior engineering students.


Course Goals. All CEE undergraduate students at UC are required to take Integrated Design I, II, and III. These courses were installed in the curriculum to provide a final, integrated engineering experience for the students and to meet the General Education requirements of the University. The courses are spread over three quarters to allow the students sufficient time to complete a significant project. The goals of the Integrated Design courses are:

1. To show students how engineering concepts, taught as individual subjects in disparate courses, are brought together in a project. 2. To demonstrate the interaction needed between CE sub-disciplines in a project. 3. To provide training and experience on teamwork and team building, essential for modern engineering practice. 4. To improve oral, written, and visual communication skills. 5. To force students to consider non-technical aspects of a project, such as:

Niehaus, J., & Kukreti, A. (2006, June), Practitioner Driven Senior Design Capstone Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1299

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