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Work in Progress: Senior Design Day During a Pandemic: Virtually the Same as In-person?

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Impact of COVID-19 on Design Education 2

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


C. Richard Compeau Jr Texas State University

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C. Richard Compeau Jr. is a Professor of Practice in the Ingram School of Engineering, and the Electrical Engineering Academic Program Coordinator. He is interested in teaching and curriculum development. His work is typically project-specific for the EE Capstone courses, with an emphasis on applied electromagnetics.

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Austin Talley P.E. Texas State University

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Dr. Austin Talley is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Ingram School of Engineering at Texas State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas State University, Dr. Austin Talley worked as a manufacturing quality engineer for a test and measurement company, National Instruments, in Austin, TX. Dr. Austin Talley is a licensed by state of Texas as a Professional Engineer. Both of Dr. Austin Talley’s graduate degrees, a doctorate and masters in Mechanical Engineering, manufacturing and design area, are from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, Dr. Austin Talley holds an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in Mechanical Engineering. His research is in engineering design theory and engineering education. He has published over 30 papers in engineering education journals and conference proceedings. He has worked to implement multiple National Science Foundation (NSF) grants focused on engineering education. He has been an instructor in more than ten week long summer K-12 teach Professional Development Institutes (PDI). He has received multiple teaching awards. He has developed design based curriculum for multiple K-12 teach PDIs and student summer camps.

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Senior Design or "Capstone" projects are an important aspect of undergraduate activity in engineering disciplines as they consist of a culminating major design experience incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple constraints, based upon skills acquired in earlier course work. Capstone activities include gathering requirements, technical design, presentations, and written documentation. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas State University hosted a “Senior Design Day” at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, in which projects and student presentations were showcased. At peak, over 450 individuals attended this event, providing large audiences for student presentations. Attendees were also given the opportunity to evaluate student projects and to provide feedback regarding the event. With the social distancing directives from the university and local government during the pandemic, Senior Design Day became a virtual event. This work in progress compares past events held in person events vs. two events that were conducted virtually. The research also compares the virtual event with pre-recorded presentations vs. one held with synchronous video presentations. Participant and visitor evaluations and feedback are compared, as significantly more feedback was received for the virtual events than for the in-person events. The differences in how project sponsors, faculty, and students participated in each type of Senior Design Day is compared and discussed. Some elements of a virtual event provided improvements to the experience and their application to post-pandemic Senior Design Days is discussed. Finally, a review of lessons learned from the 2018 evaluation of this event, Texas State University, is discussed along with recommendations.

Compeau, C. R., & Talley, A. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Senior Design Day During a Pandemic: Virtually the Same as In-person? Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38196

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