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Putting The Engine Back Into Engineering Education A Capstone Design Project

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.825.1 - 6.825.7

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Paper Authors

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Kenneth Halliday

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Israel Urieli

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Gregory Kremer

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

Session 2525

Putting the "Engine" Back Into Engineering Education - A Capstone Design Project Kenneth R. Halliday, Gregory G. Kremer, Israel Urieli Department of Mechanical Engineering Ohio University


The Mechanical Engineering Department at Ohio University has recently radically transformed its Senior Design Curriculum. This change was motivated by the perception among the entire mechanical engineering faculty of the need to improve the way that engineering design is taught at the senior undergraduate level. Three separate design courses have been replaced with a single year- long course that is team-taught by three instructors. This change was implemented to improve the student’s "time on task" and to provide for comprehensive feedback on each student's demonstrations of their design skills as well as the quality of their written and oral presentations.

The class has been divided into ten learning communities, in the form of design teams. Team building and teamwork exercises, which are frequently reviewed by the faculty, have been implemented.

The design project itself involves the design and construction of a vehicle powered by an externally fired heat engine. The “best” vehicle will traverse 100 meters in a straight line in the shortest time. This combined thermal/mechanical systems design project was selected to integrate material from all of the core mechanical engineering courses and to ensure that our graduates have a basic understanding of engineering science and how it relates to the art of engineering design.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the key features of the new course and to evaluate its success in meeting its educational objectives. The “soft skills” component of the course emphasizes development of skills for lifelong learning, including research skills, teamwork skills, and communication skills. The year-long sequence of courses is being team-taught, with extensive use of a Blackboard course web site for organizing group activities, and is being monitored by referees from the industrial sector.

I. Introduction

The implementation of ABET’s new EC-2000 accreditation standards have provided engineering departments with the opportunity, and the incentive, to reassess and redesign their curricula. The faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Ohio University decided in 1996 that one area in need of reform was the senior capstone design experience. At that time, each senior undergraduate student was required to satisfy the senior design requirement by completing three Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Halliday, K., & Urieli, I., & Kremer, G. (2001, June), Putting The Engine Back Into Engineering Education A Capstone Design Project Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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