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Truly Interdisciplinary: The Onu Eccs Senior Design Experience

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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

Capstone Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1360.1 - 10.1360.13



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Paper Authors

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John Estell

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Juliet Hurtig

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

Truly Interdisciplinary: The ONU ECCS Senior Design Experience

Juliet K. Hurtig John K. Estell Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department Ohio Northern University

I. Abstract

All seniors in the College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University are required to complete a capstone project. Following the merger of the former Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering departments in 2001, the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science (ECCS) Department developed a year-long, three course senior design sequence common to all three majors offered: computer engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering. This approach allows ECCS students to work on truly interdisciplinary comprehensive projects, and also allows for participation on interdepartmental teams. The students are presented with a mixture of faculty- and industry-sponsored projects and are assigned to project teams based upon their specified preferences. The course sequence requires the students to research an open-ended problem statement, develop a proposal, design a prototype, validate the design, produce a physical deliverable, and report the results. As part of the experience, students deal with various management issues and technical aspects of design. Both written and oral communication of the proposal and final project results are required, and all aspects of project documentation are available on the team’s website. Faculty evaluate projects at the end of each quarter through sets of rubrics; external feedback is obtained through project group interactions with the ECCS industrial advisory board and with the local IEEE branch. Two competitions, for the best poster and oral presentations, are held to provide performance incentives. Applying this methodology has improved the overall quality of the project designs and better prepared our graduates for their industrial careers.

II. Introduction

In the “2005-2006 Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs” published by ABET, Criterion 3(d) states that students must have “an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams” while Criterion 4 states that students “must be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints.”1 In response to these charges, many institutions have incorporated one or more team-oriented senior design courses into their engineering curricula; Ohio Northern University is no exception. In the former Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, senior design consisted of a year-long, three quarter sequence of courses. The first course focused on the characteristics of engineering design projects and the development of a project proposal, the second course focused on a comprehensive project, and the third course focused on the

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Estell, J., & Hurtig, J. (2005, June), Truly Interdisciplinary: The Onu Eccs Senior Design Experience Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15206

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