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Re-Designing Capstone Design: Two Years of Experience

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Capstone Design II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1213.1 - 22.1213.22



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Paper Authors


Cameron J. Turner Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Cameron Turner is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines where he runs the Design Innovation and Computational Engineering Laboratory. At CSM, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in engineering design and is a member of the Senior Design Leadership group. Dr. Turner is currently the course coordinator for the Engineering Capstone Design program and is active in the Computers and Information in Engineering Division of ASME.

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Re-Designing Capstone Design: Two Years of Experience Circumstances sometimes provide a necessary impetus that enables change to take hold.Such a situation recently occurred within the Engineering Senior Design program at myinstitution. This program serves students in Civil, Electrical, Environmental and MechanicalEngineering specialties. The cause of the change in the program was an unexpected retirement ofthe program lead, but the opportunity presented allowed the faculty to reinvest and reinvent theprogram. Years of concerns about the structure and content of the class emerged and resulted in adrive for significant and substantial changes to the course. Over the last two years and threeofferings of the two-semester course sequence, a number of changes have been implemented.Some have been successful, while some continue to be modified to better serve the course. Whileour particular course structure may not be the answer at other institutions, the process ofembracing change may offer insights and inspirations into how to implement desired changeswithin other programs. A comparison of our current course structure to the prior structure yieldssubstantive and dramatic changes. This experience demonstrates that not all course changes needbe incremental, but that revolutionary changes can be effective agents of change withinengineering programs. This paper will discuss the previous and current program structure, theperceived issues that led to the need for substantive changes to the program, how changes wereimplemented, and how the process of change impacted the program, students and the institution.The future directions of the program and current issues and concerns also will be discussed.

Turner, C. J. (2011, June), Re-Designing Capstone Design: Two Years of Experience Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18470

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