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Work in Progress: Merging Departmental Capstone Courses into a Single College-Wide Course

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Design Projects

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


David R. Mikesell Ohio Northern University

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David R. Mikesell is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio Northern University. His research interests are in land vehicle dynamics, autonomous vehicles, and robotics. He joined the faculty in 2007 after work in automotive engineering at Ohio State (PhD 2008), six years designing automated assembly machines and metal-cutting tools for Grob Systems, and four years’ service as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He holds bachelor degrees in German (Duke 1990) and Mechanical Engineering (ONU 1997).

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John-David S. Yoder Ohio Northern University

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John-David Yoder is Professor and Chair of the mechanical engineering at Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH. He has previously served as Proposal Engineer and Proposal Engineering Supervisor at Grob System, Inc. and Software Engineer at Shaum Manufacturing, Inc. He has held a number of leadership and advisory positions in various entrepreneurial ventures. He is currently a KEEN (Kern Entrepreneurial Education Network) Fellow, and has served as a Faculty Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA and an Invited Professor at INRIA Rhone-Alpes, Monbonnot, France. Research interests include computer vision, mobile robotics, intelligent vehicles, entrepreneurship, and education. He has served in leadership positions in the Mechanical Engineering Division of ASEE, and serves on multiples ASEE ad-hoc committees.

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John K. Estell Ohio Northern University

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Dr. John K Estell is Professor of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Ohio Northern University, providing instruction primarily in the areas of introductory computer programming and first-year engineering. He has been on the faculty of the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department since 2001, and served as department chair from 2001-2010. He received a B.S.C.S.E. degree from The University of Toledo and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Estell is a Fellow of ASEE, a Senior Member of IEEE, and a member of ACM, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, Phi Kappa Phi, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon.

Dr. Estell is active in the assessment community with his work in streamlining and standardizing the outcomes assessment process, and has been an invited presenter at the ABET Symposium. He is also active within the engineering education community, having served ASEE as an officer in the Computers in Education and First-Year Programs Divisions; he and his co-authors have received multiple Best Paper awards at the ASEE Annual Conference. His current research includes examining the nature of constraints in engineering design and providing service learning opportunities for first-year programming students through various K-12 educational activities. Dr. Estell is a Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee for the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, and also serves as a program evaluator for the Engineering Accreditation Commission. He is also a founding member and serves as Vice President of The Pledge of the Computing Professional, an organization dedicated to the promotion of ethics in the computing professions through a standardized rite-of-passage ceremony.

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Ahmed Abdel-Mohti P.E. Ohio Northern University


Firas Hassan Ohio Northern University

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Firas Hassan is an associate professor at Ohio Northern University. He got his Ph.D. from The university of Akron. His research interest are in the area of embedded computing of real-time image processing techniques.

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All three engineering departments at Ohio Northern University, a small, private comprehensive university, have long required that students complete a capstone design project. Until this year, however, each department managed the course independently, resulting in substantial variation in requirements, course outcomes, schedules, and expectations. Over the past ten years, the college, which comprises a total of six majors, has increased the number of multi-disciplinary projects to better reflect the environment in which most engineers will ultimately be employed. Involving students and advisors from multiple departments on the same project, though, often resulted in uncertainty from the varied course schedules and expectations.

In the spring of 2016, the college faculty voted to create one college-wide capstone course to replace the departmental courses. This course governs only the project-based portion of capstone design; each department still retains complementary senior-level lecture-based courses tailored to its discipline that cover project management and design process topics. The 2016-17 academic year is the first offering for this new course. The goals, structure, and grading of the course are discussed, as well as challenges to its implementation. Those faculty who have advised multidisciplinary capstone teams in the past are already appreciating the new structure. For some others, the new course represents a significant departure from past routine and course content, and further work is required to better accommodate the interests of all departments.

Mikesell, D. R., & Yoder, J. S., & Estell, J. K., & Abdel-Mohti, A., & Hassan, F. (2017, June), Work in Progress: Merging Departmental Capstone Courses into a Single College-Wide Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29139

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