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Using Capstone to Drive Continuous Improvement in the Curriculum

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Research on Design Learning

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Mark W. Steiner Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Mark Steiner is Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He currently serves as Director of Engineering Design in the MAE Department. Mark previously served as Director of the O.T. Swanson Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Professor of Practice in the Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering department from 1999 to 2015. He also worked at GE Corporate from 1987 to 1991, consulting and introducing world-class productivity practices throughout GE operations. In 1991 he joined GE Appliances and led product line structuring efforts resulting in $18 million annual cost savings to the refrigeration business. Later as a design team leader he led product development efforts and the initial 1995 market introduction of the Built-In Style line of GE Profile refrigerators. His last assignment at GE Appliances was in the Office of Chief Engineer in support of GE’s Design for Six Sigma initiative. Dr. Steiner has taught advanced design methods to hundreds of new and experienced engineers. His research interests include; design education, product architecture, mechanical reliability, design for manufacture and quality. Mark graduated from Rensselaer with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1987.

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Junichi Kanai Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Junichi Kanai received a B.S. in EE, and a Master of Engineering and a Ph.D. in CSE from RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) in 1983, 1985, and 1990, respectively. He was an Assistant Research Professor at the Information Science Research Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, from 1990 to 1997. Dr. Kanai joined Panasonic Information and Networking Technologies Lab in Princeton, NJ in 1998. He was a senior scientist developing and transferring new technologies to Panasonic product divisions in Japan. He was also responsible for managing his groups’ patent portfolio. From 2002 to 2004, he was a manager at the system group of Panasonic’s sales company in Secaucus, NJ providing system integration and
software development for clients. He was also an Export Control officer. Dr. Kanai joined the Design Lab at RPI in 2004. He is currently the Associate Director of the lab and and Professor of Practice of in the Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering department. The Design Lab provides industry sponsored and service oriented multidisciplinary design projects to 200 students/semester. His responsibilities include managing the operation of the Design Lab and enhancing the experience for students working on engineering design projects.

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Capstone is intended to be proving ground for students to demonstrate that they are prepared for professional practice. Accordingly, this paper addresses the problem of how capstone can provide feedback and thereby continuously make improvements to the engineering curriculum. A progressive model for hierarchically prioritizing student outcomes and mapping them to direct metrics related to the curriculum is presented as a mechanism for generating feedback. The model is used to highlight areas of engineering education where significant opportunities exist for improving the preparedness of our students for capstone and ultimately for professional practice.

Steiner, M. W., & Kanai, J. (2016, June), Using Capstone to Drive Continuous Improvement in the Curriculum Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27134

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