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Redesigning A College Wide Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Program At Rit

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Capstone Design & Project Courses

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

12.1231.1 - 12.1231.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2248

Download Count

20

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Paper Authors

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Wayne Walter Rochester Institute of Technology

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WAYNE W. WALTER is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at RIT. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Wayne has worked for the U.S. Army, Rochester Products and Delco Products Divisions of General Motors, and Xerox, and is a registered professional engineer (P.E.) in New York State. He can be reached at wwweme@rit.edu.

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Jeffrey Webb Rochester Institute of Technology

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JEFFREY B. WEBB is a Mechanical Engineer with the Engineering Modeling and Simulations group in the Southeast Division of Applied Research Associates. He received his BS and MS degress in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. Jeff has also worked for the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, Southco, Pall Filtration, and as a Teaching Assistant at RIT. His thesis and duties at RIT focused mainly in the area of Robotics. He can be reached at coolwebb@gmail.com.

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Mark Smith Rochester Institute of Technology

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MARK SMITH is Director of the Multidisciplinary Design (MSD), Product Development (MPD), and Manufacturing Leadership (MML) programs at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Prior to joining RIT, he spent nearly 20 years in medical electronics R&D. Mr. Smith has an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester. He can be reached at mwspd21@rit.edu.

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Elizabeth DeBartolo Rochester Institute of Technology

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ELIZABETH A. DEBARTOLO is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She earned her BSE at Duke University in 1994 and her MSME and Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1996 and 2000, respectively. She works with several students in the area of fatigue life prediction. Dr. DeBartolo serves on her college's leadership teams for both multi-disciplinary capstone design and outreach program development. She can be reached at eademe@rit.edu.

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Margaret Bailey Rochester Institute of Technology

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MARGARET BAILEY, registered professional engineer, is the Kate Gleason Chair and Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at RIT. She earned her BSE at Pennsylvania State University in 1988 and her Ph.D. at University of Colorado at Boulder in 1998. She conducts research with students using advanced thermodynamic analyses and neural network modeling applied to various, energy-intensive, complex mechanical systems. Dr. Bailey serves in numerous leadership roles within her college, including Executive Director of RIT’s Women in Engineering Program (WE@RIT); ME Department Advocate for Engineering Honors Program; and Member of Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Leadership Team. She can be reached at mbbeme@rit.edu.

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George Slack Rochester Institute of Technology

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GEORGE SLACK is Instructor of Electrical Engineering at RIT with primary interest in Senior Design and Digital Systems. Prior to RIT, he was a project manager and engineer in design engineering at Xerox Corp and Bosch Corp. George has an MS degree from University of Rochester. He can be reached at gbseee@rit.edu.

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

Redesigning a College-Wide Multidisciplinary Senior Design Program at RIT

Abstract

Since 2002, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has seen its Multidisciplinary Senior Design (MSD) program grow from a small pilot project into a college-wide initiative, involving four departments and almost 400 students annually. While subtle adjustments have been made each year, a major redesign effort was undertaken prior to the 2006 academic year to improve program alignment with departmental objectives, to improve delivery efficiency and effectiveness, and to improve student and faculty satisfaction.

The project definition process was overhauled to focus on the definition of related projects within a set of disciplinary “tracks,” consistent with academic programs and faculty interests. Emphasis was placed on development of reusable and scalable platforms to lay the foundation for future project extensions, and to encourage cross-project and cross-department collaboration. To reduce startup time normally associated with student projects, day-long workshops were developed for the first four weeks that forced intense focus on customer requirements, engineering specifications, and concept development and selection. The workshop structure and format further encouraged collaboration within and across teams. Lastly, a Wiki-based online environment was created to support knowledge capture and emergent collaboration.

This paper provides an overview of changes to the MSD program in three key areas: course delivery, project definition, and communications infrastructure. Attention is given to innovative approaches to challenges inherent in serving a large and diverse constituency with limited resources.

Introduction

Project-based “capstone” design has become an integral component of the undergraduate engineering experience. Howe and Wilbarger1 surveyed over 400 programs in the 2005 National Survey of Engineering Capstone Design Courses, a follow-up to a comprehensive survey conducted by Todd in 19942. Last year’s ASEE conference contained a number of papers on capstone design programs3-9, with many of them focusing on assessment practices and lessons learned. Important benefits associated with collaborative design projects include: innovative problem solving, improved handling of complexity and ambiguity, enhanced communications skills and self-confidence, and improvements in team building and interpersonal interactions. Nevertheless, the integration of practical engineering design into engineering curricula has a long way to go. Todd10 has addressed issues inherent with engaging, evaluating, and rewarding faculty. Dym and colleagues11 have detailed challenges associated with teaching design and have provided suggestions for improving design learning, with particular attention to project-based learning. To guide program developers, these authors have defined critical skills associated with design thinking: tolerance for ambiguity, systems thinking and systems design, ability to handle uncertainty, decision making, thinking as part of a team, and thinking and communicating in

Walter, W., & Webb, J., & Smith, M., & DeBartolo, E., & Bailey, M., & Slack, G. (2007, June), Redesigning A College Wide Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Program At Rit Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2248

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: © 2007 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