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Senior Freshman Collaboration In A Capstone Design Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1008.1 - 8.1008.12



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Paper Authors

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Anna Philips

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John Hochstein

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William Janna

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

Session 2366


Herff College of Engineering The University of Memphis Memphis TN 38152

Abstract An innovative capstone design course entitled “Design of Fluid Thermal Systems,” involves groups of seniors working on various semester-long design projects. Once projects are awarded, freshmen enrolled in the “Introduction to Mechanical Engineering” course are assigned to work with the senior design teams. The senior teams function like small consulting companies that employ co-operative education students; e.g., the freshmen. One of the objectives of building this collaboration is a desire to increase the retention rate of the freshmen by involving them with the seniors in some interesting design work. Additionally, the seniors benefit by gaining team leadership experience, and by developing the ability to communicate their ideas to a non-technical audience as their design work progresses. This project began in Fall 2001, and at the conclusion of that semester, an assessment instrument was administered to the seniors to ascertain their opinion of the experience. After reviewing the comments made by the seniors, improvements were made to this project, and these improvements were implemented in Fall 2002. At the end of the Fall 2002 semester an assessment was made and the following conclusions were drawn: • The seniors and the freshmen all believed that the interaction was a rewarding experience. • The seniors felt that their freshmen co-ops made useful contributions to the overall design effort. The freshmen also believed this was so. • The seniors learned to appreciate the management problems encountered while managing co-workers with limited technical expertise. • The seniors and the freshmen both recommended that the program be continued in the future. Background “Design of Fluid Thermal Systems” is a senior-level, capstone design course at the University of Memphis. Students in this course are divided into groups of 3, 4 or 5 members who work together as a team on a design project. Selected projects are presented to the design teams who must bid competitively on three of the projects. The design team with the lowest bid is awarded that particular project to work on for the entire semester. (See the text listed in the Bibliography for information on the bidding process.) Design teams are treated like companies and as such, each group chooses a company name and designs a company logo. Titles of projects for the Fall 2002 semester are provided in Table 1. Some groups developed web sites for their companies. More detailed project descriptions are provided in the Appendix of this paper. Groups elect a Project Director who meets with the course instructor on a weekly basis. The Project Director works with the group members to identify a list of tasks required in order to finish the project by the end of the semester. The list of tasks includes, for example, sizing and selecting

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Philips, A., & Hochstein, J., & Janna, W. (2003, June), Senior Freshman Collaboration In A Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11525

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