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Vertically Integrated Multi Disciplinary Design Problem Case Study Assessment

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Projects

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1381.1 - 13.1381.13



Permanent URL

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Paper Authors


Zachary Gutierrez University of Wyoming

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Graduate Reserach Assistant

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Charles Dolan University of Wyoming

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H. T. Person Professor of Engineering, University of Wyoming

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

Vertically Integrated Multi-Disciplinary Design Problem Case Study Assessment


The National Science Foundation is sponsoring a vertically integrated multi-disciplinary capstone problem study based on the technology of wind turbines and windmills. The project develops a series of capstone problems and provides background information and an instructor’s solution manual. Students use the background information to solve problems for classes in Introduction to Engineering, Engineering Problem Solving, Statics, Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Circuits, and Structural Analysis.

The assessment methodology uses a rubric based on Bloom’s Taxonomy to evaluate how multiple experiences with the same problem from various perspectives improve students’ critical thinking. The paper explains the development of the Learning Score rubrics based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and includes data on a semester of evaluation.


The purpose of this study is for the University of Wyoming and associated colleges to evaluate the level of learning that the students display in a longitudinal study. By comparing the results of similar courses inside and outside of specific departments, instructors have the opportunity to adjust their courses to improve the students educational experience. Tying the Engineering Science Courses together with a realistic and interesting project, such as wind turbines, is intended to increase student interest and create a desire to further their education as well as increase their learning levels.

Bloom’s Taxonomy1,2,3 was selected as an assessment tool for this project. It is one of the most identifiable tools for examining student’s cognitive skills. In this case the cognitive skills are the learning levels and critical thinking skills of engineering students. Since its creation in the 1950’s, Bloom’s Taxonomy has been widely studied and accepted as the standard evaluation tool. By using Bloom’s Taxonomy, people not associated with engineering education can identify with this multi-disciplinary project and its objectives. Bloom’s Taxonomy forms the basis for the development of assessment rubrics used as evaluation tools.

The assessment evaluation is independent of problem grading. The class grade is based on the instructor’s objectives, while the cognitive assessment is based on rubrics independent of the numerical solution. It was never Bloom’s idea to have his taxonomy used to provide course grades. A participating student may demonstrate a high level of critical thinking, yet receive a poor course grade or vice versa. Therefore, the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy to provide a course grade is invalid.

Gutierrez, Z., & Dolan, C. (2008, June), Vertically Integrated Multi Disciplinary Design Problem Case Study Assessment Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3314

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