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The Development And Implementation Of An Expanded Capstone Design Experience By Replacing An Internship Course

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Applying What We Teach to IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1193.1 - 14.1193.9



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Paper Authors


E. Delbert Horton Texas A&M University, Commerce

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E.DELBERT HORTON, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering. Dr. Horton teaches a variety of engineering courses, including: Industrial Operations Research courses, Industrial Capstone System Design, and a Project Management course. He has over 38 years experience in academia and in product development and manufacturing, and intelligence systems development and integration for U.S. Government agencies. His experience includes various engineering development and management, and consulting roles at Electrospace Systems, E-Systems, Raytheon Systems and Stephen Meyers & Associates. He is a member of ASEE, Institute of Industrial Engineers and senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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Matthew Elam Texas A&M University, Commerce

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MATTHEW E. ELAM, Ph.D., Dr. Elam is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Technology at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He has taught courses, authored publications, performed funded research, and consulted with industry in several statistics related areas, engineering education, mathematics, and other subject areas. He has presented his research and served as session chairs at conferences. He has served as a reviewer for several journals and conference proceedings, and on the editorial board of one journal. He is a member of the ASEE and is an American Society for Quality Certified Quality Engineer

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Ben Cranor Texas A&M University, Commerce

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BEN D. CRANOR, Ph.D., Dr. Cranor currently is an Assistant Professor and Graduate Faculty Member and advisor for the Technology Management Graduate Program at Texas A&M University-Commerce. With his leadership and technical skills he has lead several companies, government institutions, and academic programs to high levels of excellence. Dr. Cranor has been recognized by his engineering peers, government agencies, by leaders in the military, and by the adult education community. He has received patents, conducted research, motivated, encouraged, and led others during his nearly four decades in education, government, and industrial management careers.

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

The Development and Implementation of an Expanded Capstone Design Experience by Replacing an Internship Course


The Industrial Engineering (IE) program at the authors' university receives continued feedback from industry, the IE Program Industry Advisory Board (IAB), and student evaluations. This feedback indicated the program needed to provide the senior-level students with a more realistic industry experience. Currently, the IE internship course, IE 471, and Industrial Systems Design (IE capstone course), IE 495, are in the IE program curriculum to introduce and provide the senior engineering student an insight into the industrial world. These two courses were evaluated according to the continuous improvement plan for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and changes were recommended.

The IE 471 Internship is offered to give students an occupational experience in an industrial facility. Students and faculty have experienced several disappointing obstacles in executing this IE 471 internship course, including students being unable to convince industry to hire them for an internship course. The students in the authors' IE program are generally nontraditional students. They are generally older students with family and other responsibilities in addition to their education goals. They are generally working 40 hours per week to support the family and meeting a full-time student curriculum. These students are reluctant to give up their current employment and to work for one semester as an intern. These internships are at minimum wage without benefits for the student and his/her family. The student’s current job may not be available when he/she returns after the internship. The disappointments the faculty experience stem from students requesting the faculty advisor to consider using their current job responsibilities as their internship. For example, the student may be working as a sales clerk at a cell phone retail store. This position would have no engineering problems or experience.

This paper focuses on the development and implementation of a replacement course for the IE 471 Internship course. Initially, introductory information on the authors' university and Industrial Engineering degree program are presented. Then, the approach in the past that the IE program has taken to implement the internship and the capstone courses is presented. Next, a description of the continuous improvement activities undertaken to make improvements in these courses is provided. This is followed by the description of the replacement course for the internship course, which includes a literature review justifying some of the new curriculum content. Also addressed is the modifications required of the IE 495 Industrial System Design course (IE capstone) so that the student is able to sequentially take these two courses during the their final academic year (fall and spring semesters). Completion of the two sequential courses with a participating industry partner gives the student a more consistent industry experience prior to entering an industrial engineering position.


Since 1889, the authors' university, Texas A&M University-Commerce, has gone through many name changes before being incorporated into the Texas A&M University System in 1996. Texas

Horton, E. D., & Elam, M., & Cranor, B. (2009, June), The Development And Implementation Of An Expanded Capstone Design Experience By Replacing An Internship Course Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4586

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015