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Promotion Of Final Year Capstone Projects

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

K-12, Teamwork, Project-Based Scale Models

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1030.1 - 9.1030.7



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Paper Authors

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Aaron Blicblau

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

Promotion of Final Year Capstone Projects

Aaron S Blicblau

School of Engineering and Science, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia


In many engineering courses around the world one of the key aspects required of the students is that they complete an independent project in their final year of studies. Project work is now considered to be an important part of an engineer’s training4-6. Students enrolled in their final year of mechanical engineering at Swinburne University of Technology are required to undertake and complete a final year project (major capstone project). Students may select a project from a list prepared by academic staff, or may suggest their own topic based on individual interest, or arising from their period of Industry Based Learning. The project may be university based or industry based. The project may take various forms involving technology research and development, experimental work, computer analysis, industry liaison and business skills7,8.

Students are expected to conduct literature and state of the art surveys, formulate and define problems, generate and select solutions, and analyze and prepare designs. Where appropriate, students build and test their design. Projects are undertaken under the close supervision of a staff member who meets regularly with the students to discuss and assure progress.

Total student time spent on the project is expected to be a minimum of 160 hours which is expected to be 25% of their final year of studies (over two semesters). Either a major report or a technical paper is prepared and submitted for assessment, a poster is prepared for display and an oral presentation is delivered in a conference format.

Format of Capstone Projects

The timeline of the projects extend over two semesters. During the first semester the students define their project, often in discussions with various staff members. However, if they wish to propose a project, that is often also accepted for their capstone work. This is done in consultation with a staff member. The next step in the project organization is the development of project proposal which may include a business plan, a research project or a design proposal. Those proposals all require intensive searching of the literature, and culminate in a substantial “literature survey” as part of the project proposal. Once the project proposals have been submitted the task of determining the structure of the project is also completed.

The semester commences early March, the topics for the project are finalized by early April, and the proposals are completed by the end of May. The process takes approximately 10 weeks before any “real work” can be commenced. However, once the proposals have been

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Blicblau, A. (2004, June), Promotion Of Final Year Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13783

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