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University/ Community Partnership Though Senior Design Projects

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Design for Community

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1225.1 - 8.1225.9

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Paper Authors

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Dr. Maria Kreppel

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Max Rabiee

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

Session 2625

University/Community Partnership through Senior Design Projects

Maria Curro Kreppel, Max Rabiee University of Cincinnati


The College of Applied Science (CAS) at the University of Cincinnati (UC) offers a range of engineering technology degrees at the baccalaureate level. Seniors are required to enroll in a capstone curriculum entitled “Senior Design.” Working individually or in small groups, they experience the project management process in its entirety—from concept development and design analysis to prototype fabrication and testing.

The senior design sequence typically extends over three quarter terms. The public demonstration of “Senior Design” outcomes takes place annually, at the college’s Tech Expo, through poster presentations that give students the opportunity to display and defend their project work.

Typically, CAS seniors identify their design problems from one of two broad areas of experience: 1) their own industrial experience through work as co-op students, entrepreneurs, service managers, trouble-shooters, etc., or 2) their personal experience as students, volunteers, parents, homeowners, renters, racing enthusiasts, hobbyists, sports participants or coaches. Within this personal experience area, a few students have chosen design problems connected to adaptive equipment needs or direct service needs of non-profit organizations within the community.

Recent faculty efforts have increased the number and scope of community-based projects. These projects have yielded redesigns of wheelchairs, computer mouse controls and exercise equipment, along with prototypic control systems for unique user profiles and environments.

This paper lays out the rationale and implementation of community-based projects and compares them to the more traditional projects drawn from students’ industrial or personal experience. On several measures of learning objectives, community-based projects appear to offer intensified challenges and rewards similar to projects sponsored by industry. Since the design solutions for community-based problems are not likely to be viable for private investment, they seem all the more appropriate for the investment of public university resources. Enlarging the scope of design problems via community-based projects should enrich the capstone experience for all involved.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Kreppel, D. M., & Rabiee, M. (2003, June), University/ Community Partnership Though Senior Design Projects Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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