June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Design in Engineering Education
11.1184.1 - 11.1184.6
Synthesis of Teaching and Evaluation Activities for Development of Professional Skills in a Capstone Design Course Abstract
ABET’s transition from content-based engineering accreditation criteria to an outcomes- based model is now complete. The onus for defining curricular content has shifted from ABET (‘one size fits all’) to the program’s faculty (‘stakeholder-driven continuous improvement’). This new-found autonomy in determining curricular content has created varied ‘localized’ interpretations and implementations. It comes with its own set of challenges. Heightened emphasis has been placed on development and documentation of professional skills (aka ‘soft’ skills) such as oral and written communication, team work, lifelong learning, and global and societal issues. Teaching, assessing and documenting soft skills necessitates a new synthesis of topics. In this paper, we describe our experiences in a capstone design course for mechanical engineers, our transitivity matrix mapping ABET outcomes to classroom implementation methods, and our approach to capture and document our progress and achievements. We discuss our principal process mechanisms; including the student portfolio, which is useful for defining and demonstrating a number of ABET competencies.
The Department of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering at NCA&T State University resulted from the merger of two departments. The combined department has ABET-accredited programs in Mechanical as well as Chemical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering has had an evolving capstone design course for many years. This two-semester course is structured around a team approach and is intended to provide a realistic culminating experience in which many skills are integrated. In addition to the technical skills, we have strived to develop the many other professional attributes and competencies necessary for a successful career. We have based these on primarily industrial interaction and believe they reflect elements identified by other authors1,2,3,. With the implementation of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Criteria 2000, further modification of the course occurred. Although many of the ABET outcomes were addressed in our capstone course a partial recasting was necessary, particularly in the assessment/grading, required course documentation, and student awareness of our goals. In this paper we describe our experiences and lessons learned in implementing more completely the ABET criteria, focusing on the six outcomes which comprise the Professional or ‘soft’ skills.
Capstone Course Goals
We present the following set of themes (developed over the years) as lecture topics and incorporate into the design environment; we also give brief arguments for their importance, as we justify them to the students:
1) Intellectual, Professional, and Ethical Stance: Students must understand the characteristics of their profession and their role in it, the tools and characteristics of a qualified, working engineer. Understand the professional standards and the ethics.
Filatovs, J., & Pai, D. (2006, June), Synthesis Of Teaching And Evaluation Activities For Development Of Professional Skills In A Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1310
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