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Recent Capstone Design Projects At Western Kentucky University

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Design in the ECE Curriculum

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1027.1 - 13.1027.11



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Paper Authors


Mark Cambron Western Kentucky University

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Dr. Mark Cambron is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department of Engineering at Western Kentucky University. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. He is a registered engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. His current research interest include: engineering education, bio-sensing devices, machine vision, robotics, learning systems, neural networks, and controls.

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Walter Collett Western Kentucky University

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Walter Collett received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University in 1990 and 1992, respectively, and his Ph.D. in Engineering from Tennessee Tech in 1999. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Western Kentucky University. From 1999 until 2004 he was employed in engineering and engineering management with Schneider Electric in Nashville, Tennessee. His main interests are in electromagnetics, electromechanics and photonics.

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Stacy Wilson Western Kentucky University

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Stacy Wilson is a Professor in the Electrical Engineering Program at Western Kentucky University. Her interests include control systems, system identification, assessment, gender equity issues and K-12 outreach.

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

Recent Capstone Design Projects at Western Kentucky University

Introduction The electrical engineering (EE) program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) was created in 2001, graduated students for the first time in 2004, and is now fully accredited by ABET. Our mission is to be relevant to the region and to produce graduates who can immediately contribute. We believe that students should be involved in project based activities during their entire undergraduate experience. The EE program is dedicated to project-based learning (PBL). Engaging students with the concrete, hands-on, and real-world problems is a great motivator. PBL has grown in acceptance in the undergraduate community during the past two decades. 1-4

WKU’s EE faculty are focused on undergraduate education. Our faculty are rewarded and required to engage students in activities to support the development of a clear understanding of engineering practice.5 Our goal is to provide students with relevant project experiences inside and outside the classroom. Faculty have developed a series of experiences throughout the curriculum to support this mission which culminates in a year long design sequence. Students prepare for outstanding professional leadership by participating in real-world projects undertaken by multidisciplinary teams using state-of-the-art tools and facilities. Many of these projects are done with the support of local industry.

This paper discusses recent projects completed in the senior capstone design course. Projects have been sponsored by regional industrial partners, government partners and internal faculty. The capstone course is a two semester experience in which the students propose solutions for large scale projects during the first semester and implement and test the design during the second semester. The industrial advisory board is used as a resource for projects and to assess the students at the completion of the project. Ideas on how to address large-scale, multidisciplinary, multi-year projects in an undergraduate project-based curriculum will also be presented.

Role of Design Courses

The EE Program includes a five course design sequence. The first design course, EE 101, introduces students to the university and the EE program. Students are taught how to solder and to how to use the departmental prototyping facilities. Students are exposed to programming in BASIC, MATLAB and HTML. Student teams design and build a small robot.6

The second design course, EE 200, further builds on the project-based mission. Students learn to construct circuits using the departmental print circuit board facilities. Students continue to develop programming skill with PSPICE and MATLAB. Students design and build a clock.

During the third design course, EE 300, EE students are assigned to teams. Each team is assigned a unique design project and must solve and implement a design problem throughout the semester. These projects are often industrially supported. Recently, some projects have been

Cambron, M., & Collett, W., & Wilson, S. (2008, June), Recent Capstone Design Projects At Western Kentucky University Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4183

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: © 2008 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