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Success Strategies For Capstone Design Courses With Large Classes, Diverse Project Types, Small To Large Student Teams, And Varied Faculty Interests And Approaches

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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

Design in Engineering Eduaction - Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

12.1328.1 - 12.1328.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2770

Download Count

37

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Paper Authors

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Janis Terpenny Virginia Tech

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Janis Terpenny is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education with affiliated positions in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial & Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. She is co-Director of the NSF multi-university Center for e-Design. Her research interests focus on methods and representation schemes to support early design stages of engineered products and systems. She is currently a member of ASEE, ASME, IIE, and Alpha Pi Mu. She is the Design Economics area editor for The Engineering Economist journal.

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Clinton Dancey Virginia Tech

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Clint Dancey is an Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He teaches in the areas of fluid mechanics, compressible flow, and thermodynamics. His research interests include hydrodynamics, erosion, bridge scour, and the initiation of motion of sediment in streams and rivers.

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Doug Nelson Virginia Tech

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Doug Nelson is a Professor in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Fuel Cell Systems, Hydrogen Energy Systems, Advanced Technology Vehicles and Design. He is the co-director of the Dept. of Energy GATE Center for Automotive Fuel Cell Systems. Dr. Nelson is the faculty advisor for the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) of Virginia Tech, a student organization which designs and builds hybrid electric and alternative-fueled vehicles for advanced vehicle technology competitions.

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Michael Ellis Virginia Tech

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Michael Ellis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Egnineering at Virginia Tech. His research interests include: Applications of Fuel Cell Systems for Building Cogeneration, Solid Sorption Heat Pump Modeling,
Modeling and Analysis of Building Energy Consumption, Analysis of Energy Uses in Industrial Processes, Fuel Cell Performance Modeling, and Optimal Design of Hybrid Gas/Electric Chilled Water Systems

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Richard Goff Virginia Tech

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Richard M. Goff is the Pete White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education, Associate Professor, and Assistant Head of the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. An award winning teacher, his main areas of
research and teaching are design and design education.

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Dennis Hong Virginia Tech

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Dennis Hong is an Assistant Professor and the Director of RoMeLa(Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. His research expertise lie in the area of autonomous robots, design and analysis of mechanical systems,
kinematics, and dynamics. Dr. Hong won the NSF CAREER award (2007), the ASME Freudenstein / GM Young Investigator Award (2005), the Biomimicry Award / Best Paper Award at the 29th ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference (2005), and was selected as a NASA Summer Faculty Fellow at JPL (2005).

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

Success Strategies for Capstone Design Courses with Large Classes, Diverse Project Types, Small to Large Student Teams, and Varied Faculty Interests and Approaches

Abstract

Capstone design courses are a core part of curricula across engineering disciplines. Such courses offer students the opportunity to bring together, assimilate and apply the knowledge they have acquired over their entire undergraduate academic program. Projects are often real world problems that are less well specified than those encountered in prior courses and may challenge student teams beyond familiar bounds required of less challenging projects. Identifying projects, recruiting faculty advisors for projects, and providing meaningful class lectures to seniors that will be both interesting and useful to successful projects are typical challenges of such courses. Numerous other challenges emerge when the class size is large. During the 2006/07 academic year, there are over 280 seniors enrolled in the 2-semester capstone design course sequence in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. This paper will convey the wide variety of challenges and provide specific strategies that have been used for success in an environment where 1) the types of projects are very diverse in terms of difficulty, application domain, and scope, 2) team sizes vary from 4 members to over 30 members, and 3) the interests and approaches of faculty advisors are quite varied.

Background and Motivation

The capstone senior design course sequence, ME 4015 – 4016, includes more than twenty-five different projects, with nearly as many different faculty advisors. The course sequence also offers our students several different project options: design projects closely connected to funded research, or projects proposed and sponsored by private industry, and yet others that involve national and international competitions. Such diversity is one of the course strengths, giving students a choice in their design experience. Recognizing the diversity among our design projects, it is important for all of our students to achieve, in the course of their senior design experience, a consistent set of course objectives, regardless of the project they select. To achieve a degree of consistency among our senior design projects, while embracing the diversity of our projects, a new policy has been developed that includes a set of common course objectives, deliverables, and evaluation practices. A committee of 6 faculty members representing experiences with large teams, small teams, competition teams, industrially sponsored teams, the course coordinator, and undergraduate program director for Mechanical Engineering participated in the development of this new policy for our senior design course sequence. The following sections describe the new policy, course format and procedures, and support provided to students and faculty.

Terpenny, J., & Dancey, C., & Nelson, D., & Ellis, M., & Goff, R., & Hong, D. (2007, June), Success Strategies For Capstone Design Courses With Large Classes, Diverse Project Types, Small To Large Student Teams, And Varied Faculty Interests And Approaches Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2770

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