June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Systems Engineering and Multidisciplinary Engineering
22.1276.1 - 22.1276.15
SE CAPSTONE: Introduction of Systems Engineering into an Undergraduate Multidisciplinary Capstone CourseWith a shortage of systems engineers projected in coming years, increasing the pool andcapabilities of systems engineering talent is essential. Given the relatively small number ofsystems engineering undergraduate programs across the country, alternative strategies must bedeveloped to bring systems engineering elements into the traditional engineering disciplines. Inthis paper, we report on our efforts to introduce systems engineering elements into anundergraduate multidisciplinary capstone design course. The multidisciplinary capstone course atXXXX University attracts students from chemical engineering, electrical engineering,mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, and biomedical engineering, students whootherwise have little or no exposure to systems engineering. The multidisciplinary capstonecourse is structured to have design teams of three-to-five students work on client-sponsored anddesign projects, which may be from industry, community service organizations, and government.In contrast to discipline-specific capstone courses, the multidisciplinary capstone is intended tohave teams with students from three-or-more fields.Using the existing framework of the multidisciplinary capstone course, systems engineering isintroduced through inclusion of eight systems engineering modules covering requirementsanalysis, systems thinking, systems engineering fundamentals, systems architecture, problemsolving, verification and validation, project management, and decision and risk analysis. Eachmodule consists of readings, lecture, and hands-on applications. Modules are introduced in afashion and sequence such that students can directly apply them to their design projects. Forexample, following the module on requirements analysis students go through the requirementselicitation process to develop the system requirements for their projects. The multidisciplinarycapstone design course has also been restructured to follow a more traditional systemsengineering life cycle, going from mission statement, system requirements review, conceptualdesign review, preliminary design review, and finally, critical design review.To measure the effectiveness of our strategy for increasing awareness and understanding ofsystems engineering amongst non-systems engineering students, pre- and post-course assessmenttools have been developed. Formative assessment tools measured this learning outcome alongwith the students’ perceptions of learning. The pre-test survey, to determine students’ priorknowledge of systems engineering, was taken by the students during the first class meeting.During this first class, students individually read a case study; posted to the course Blog toanswer questions relative to the case; and after having discussed the case with their respectiveteams, again posted to the Blog regarding any change from their initial comments based on theteam discussion. The students posted weekly to the Blog to report on their team’s progress. TheBlog was monitored by the faculty and course mentors from the field of systems engineering.The assessment team summarized the weekly posts for themes and commonalities. The post-testsurvey, a repeat of the initial survey, was taken by the students at the end of the semester todetermine if their knowledge of systems engineering improved as a result of being involved withthe course.The purpose of this paper is to share the lessons learned in imbedding systems engineeringpedagogy into a senior capstone design course and to share assessment data of student learningperceptions and faculty perceptions of this pedagogical approach. Preliminary findings indicatethat the awareness of the students and faculty to systems engineering teaching and learningincreased as a result. Individuals who are involved in the design and development of assessmenttools and pedagogy for capstone design projects from any discipline may be interested in thispaper.
Nemes, J. A., & Hochstedt, K. S., & Brannon, M. L., & Kisenwether, E. C., & Capuro, R. M., & Bilen, S. G. (2011, June), SE CAPSTONE: Introduction of Systems Engineering into an Undergraduate Multidisciplinary Capstone Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18936
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