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Senior Me Capstone Laboratory Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session


Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1105.1 - 10.1105.12



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Paper Authors

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Kevin Schmaltz

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Christopher Byrne

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Joel Lenoir

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Robert Choate

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

Session 2166

Senior ME Capstone Laboratory Course

Kevin Schmaltz, Chris Byrne, Robert Choate, Joel Lenoir Western Kentucky University


The Mechanical Engineering faculty at Western Kentucky University have developed and implemented a Design of Experiments Plan to assure that graduates of the program have acquired the skills necessary to design and conduct experiments and analyze experimental results. Instruction is integrated throughout the ME curriculum, with students finally demonstrating the ability to both define and analyze experimental problems in a capstone class. In its first offering, the capstone class required student teams to complete mechanical, materials and thermal-fluid experiences. The student teams were expected to define the requirements, determine tools and methods, execute experiment plans and report findings.

The ME faculty members have defined the components of Design of Experiments, set expected levels of student competence, and developed assessment tools to quantify student achievement. Experimental skills are developed in a variety of course structures, including stand-alone lab courses, lab experiences integrated into engineering science and design courses, and demonstration-type experiences in predominantly lecture classes.

Two phases of assessment have been implemented to improve the Design of Experiments Plan instruction. The first phase involves assessment for all courses through a collective Peer Evaluation of Course Effectiveness at the end of the semester when a class has been offered. In addition to course-level assessment, program assessment is incorporated into one or the ME Program Outcomes: Mechanical Engineering graduates can measure physical quantities and can plan, conduct, analyze and evaluate experiments. This program outcome is measured using several metrics and is reviewed on an annual basis.

The integrated structure of the Design of Experiments Plan provides a framework for building upon previous lab work, assessing student progress, and adjusting lab coverage based on prior assessments to assure that graduates of the program are capable experimental practitioners.


The Mechanical Engineering faculty at Western Kentucky University have used the development and implementation of professional experiences to provide consistent and properly assessed instruction for students pursuing the new baccalaureate Mechanical Engineering degree at WKU.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Schmaltz, K., & Byrne, C., & Lenoir, J., & Choate, R. (2005, June), Senior Me Capstone Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14310

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