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The Wizard Of Bod

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Educational Trends in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1201.1 - 7.1201.7



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Paper Authors

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Paul Schreuders

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Arthur Johnson

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

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Session 2408

The Wizard of BOD Paul D. Schreuders, Arthur Johnson University of Maryland, College Park

Abstract Several years ago, the Biological Resources Engineering Department reexamined and updated the format of its Capstone Design Project. The revised Capstone Design experience was intended to give students an opportunity to manage a product while observing resource constraints. Unfortunately, very few course plans survive intact after contact with the students. This case study will examine the intended processes, the successes, and the failures of the revision. In the plan, the project engineers (students) received funding from the Board of Directors (faculty) to produce a final product at the end of the second semester. The amount of funding was to be determined on the basis of a budget for labor and purchases plus the intended value of the final product. Designs teams were allowed to manage their funding as they saw fit. Designs teams selected a faculty mentor for their project. Projects that were not selected from a list of suggestions were checked by their mentor to assure that the end-product could achieve an “A.” The function of the mentor was to assure that all schedules and course requirements were met. However, any other faculty member could be called upon to supply necessary technical assistance. The Board of Directors (BOD) was composed of a minimum of three faculty members, including all faculty mentors. The purpose of the BOD was to ensure even quality and quantity of effort and product value for all teams. The BOD also ensured that the capstone experience included all relevant material learned in prior courses. Students were required to submit work distribution sheets with every major deliverable. This information, BOD input, and project quality was used to assign grades for the individual members of each project group.

Introduction Capstone Design in the Biological Resources Engineering Department at the University of Maryland is a two-semester course sequence. The two semesters must be taken consecutively and the students receive one credit for the first semester and two credits for the second semester. During the first semester the students are asked to formulate a design and during the second semester they are asked to execute it.

Several years ago the Biological Resources Engineering Department was faced with a number of challenges regarding this course. The challenges included the failure of the students to complete their projects in a timely manner and at an acceptable level, variations in the expectations of the students by different faculty, unreasonable demands on the support staff at the end of the semester, and an unwillingness on the part of the students to seek help from faculty other than their advisor. As these challenges were examined, we determined that they were the result of several core issues. First was the lack of faculty interaction and consensus on the project requirements. Second, this lack of consensus was then transmitted to the students as unclear

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Schreuders, P., & Johnson, A. (2002, June), The Wizard Of Bod Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10510

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