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SE CAPSTONE: Introduction of Systems Engineering into an Undergraduate Multidisciplinary Capstone Course

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

SE Capstone Design Projects, Part I

Tagged Divisions

Systems Engineering and Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

15

Page Numbers

22.1276.1 - 22.1276.15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18936

Download Count

29

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Paper Authors

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James A. Nemes Pennsylvania State University, Great Valley

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James A. Nemes, Division Head and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State’s School of Graduate Professional Studies, earned his master’s and D.Sc. at George Washington University and baccalaureate from the University of Maryland. Prior to coming to Penn State in 2007, Dr. Nemes was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. His research is in the area of material behavior, particularly the development of models to describe deformation and fracture, results of which have been published in over 100 articles in journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Nemes has also held a number of positions in industry and government, including posts at the Kennedy Space Center and at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

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Kirsten S. Hochstedt Penn State University

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Kirsten S. Hochstedt is a Graduate Assistant at the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education. She has received her Masters degree in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis in educational and psychological measurement, at Penn State and is a doctoral candidate in the same program. The primary focus of her research concerns assessing the response structure of test scores using item response theory methodology.

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Mary Lynn Brannon Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Mary Lynn Brannon, Instructional Support Specialist at the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at the Pennsylvania State University, has a Master of Arts Degree in Education and Human Development specializing in Educational Technology Leadership. Her work focuses on projects that measure and assess student perceptions of learning related to their experiences with engineering course innovations. She is a faculty development consultant with previous experience in instructional design and instructor of the Graduate Assistant Seminar for engineering teaching assistants.

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Elizabeth C. Kisenwether Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Assistant Professor, Engineering Design
School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP)

Co-Director, Lion Launch Pad
exk13@psu.edu Phone: 814.863.1531

Liz holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Penn State (1979), and M.S.E.E. degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1981) and The Johns Hopkins University (1988). She worked in industry for 11 years with a defense contractor (HRB Systems/Raytheon), and then co-founded and worked for five years with a high-tech startup (Paragon Technology), which developed digital video add-in cards/modules for laptop and rugged portable computers. Since joining Penn State in 1999, Liz has taught design courses in the Mechanical, Electrical, and Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments, and in SEDTAPP. In 2001, she became director of the Problem-Based Learning in Entrepreneurship project (underwritten by the GE Fund), and in 2002 was named Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Minor. As of Fall 2009, the E-SHIP Minor has 204 graduates representing many majors: 60% are from engineering, 25% from business, 10% from Information Sciences and Technology, and 5% from other majors. She was awarded the 2005 Price Foundation Innovative Entrepreneurship Educators Award – Stanford University REE Conference (Roundtable for Entrepreneurship Education) and 2006 ASEE Kauffman Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator Award. In January 2010, Liz stepped down as Director of the E-SHIP Minor to help define expansion plans for undergraduate entrepreneurship education across Penn State. Liz is co-Director of the Lion Launch Pad, a new student-centric on-campus business incubator. Liz is also involved in NSF-funded research, supporting both PFI and IEECI grants, and is the incoming Program Chair for the ASEE Entrepreneurship Division (2010 - 2011).

Since 2006, Liz has been involved in developing the ASME Innovation Showcase (I-Show), which provides a platform for top collegiate student teams to compete for seed money and attend four-day business start-up workshops with the goal to commercialize their product idea. In the three I-Show events conducted in the last three years, 24 teams have competed with $74,000 in seed capital funds awarded.

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Robert M. Capuro Pennslyvania State University

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System Engineering Fellow, Honeywell Intl. Retired.
Instructor, mentor ,The Pennsylvania State University

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Sven G. Bilen Pennsylvania State University, University Park Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5416-7039

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Sven G. Bilen is an Associate Professor of Engineering Design, Electrical Engineering, and Aerospace Engineering at Penn State and Head of the School of Engineering Design,Technology, and Professional Programs. His educational research interests include developing techniques for enhancing engineering design education, innovation in design, teaching technological entrepreneurship, global product design, and systems design.

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Abstract

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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