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Redesign of Capstone Design for Improving Engineering Students with Multidimensional Capabilities

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Capstone Design Practices

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Zhinan Zhang Shanghai Jiao Tong University

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Zhinan received the bachelor’s degree in mechatronic engineering from the Liaoning Institute of Technology in 2002, and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical design and theory from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2011, where he has been a Post-Doctoral Researcher, an Assistant Professor, and then an Associate Professor with the School of Mechanical Engineering
since 2011. His research interests include design engineering and innovation, and tribo-system design and analysis. He has chaired multiple national
and municipal grants in mechanical engineering. He was a recipient of the ICED’13 Reviewers’ Favorite Prize in 2013 and the ICED’11 Top 5% Paper
Awards in 2011.

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Houzhi Liu Shanghai Jiao Tong University

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Houzhi Liu received her Bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and Technology from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2019. She is going to study for a Master’s degree in Nuclear Energy at Cambridge in Oct. 2020. Her research interest
includes heat transfer and engineering design.

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Lu Chen Shanghai JiaoTong University


Yaxin Huang Shanghai Jiao Tong University

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Yaxin Huang received a Bachelor's degree in English language and literature from Hohai University of China (2018), and is studying for a Master's degree in higher education at SJTU. Her research interest includes engineering students' international learning experiences, innovation and entrepreneurship education.

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Jiabin Zhu Shanghai Jiao Tong University

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Jiabin Zhu is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Her primary research interests relate to the assessment of teaching and learning in engineering, cognitive development of graduate and undergraduate students, and global engineering. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Engineering Education, Purdue University in 2013.

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The higher engineering education in China is reforming for producing high-quality engineering talents with multidimensional capabilities, i.e. both soft and hard skill. It is widely acknowledged that capstone design (abbreviated as CD) plays an important role in the design curriculum for engineering students to construct their ability to meet the requirements of industry and sharpen their integrated design skills. The most common form of capstone design in China is a research based on students’ individual projects mainly supervised and sponsored by professors, in which students are expected to acquire deep knowledge. However, this kind of capstone design has some major drawbacks, such as lack of teamwork, design communication, problem identification, and system engineering thinking, etc., which are ranked as top of core competencies by industry. It obviously exists a gap between industry need and engineering education.

As the same time, many leading universities have carried out capstone design courses, e.g. Georgia Institute of Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, etc. In their capstone design course, students in one class are divided into several groups. The size of each group is usually up to 5 students, and 2-4 students in general. In this kind of capstone design courses, which are in project-based, design driven and student-centered pattern, students have access to gain a number of abilities, i.e. teamwork, design communication, project management, etc. However, this kind of capstone design contributes less to help students to gain deep knowledge both in how to do research and write a thesis.

To overcome the aforementioned drawbacks of different capstone design patterns, the reform of capstone design course was conducted at School of Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This reform focuses on cultivating engineering students with paying attention to both individual and team abilities. This paper presents the methodology of redesign of capstone design (abbreviated as RCD) course in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the results of a three years’ practice of the capstone design course are also analyzed.

Zhang, Z., & Liu, H., & Chen, L., & Huang, Y., & Zhu, J. (2020, June), Redesign of Capstone Design for Improving Engineering Students with Multidimensional Capabilities Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35127

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