Title: Enterprise: A Multi-year, Interdisciplinary Learning Experience at Michigan Technological University (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: Described herein are the organization, curriculum structure, outcomes, and benefits of the multi-year, interdisciplinary Enterprise Program at Michigan Technological University. Launched in 2000 with funding from a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (EEC-9872533), Enterprise focuses extensively on interdisciplinary, team-based problem solving. As an option to the traditional “senior capstone” design experience, Enterprise attracts students both within and outside of engineering. Annual program enrollment has grown from 230 to 800 students from more than 30 majors – approximately 13% of Michigan Tech’s undergraduate population participates in Enterprise. The Enterprise Program includes a diverse portfolio of 26 teams, each with their own identity, culture, and organizational structure. Team composition can include first-year through graduate-level students. Enterprise participation is linked with higher student retention and graduate rates as well as higher student perceptions of the program’s impact on their teamwork, communication, and career preparation skills. Continued student demand, strong industry support, and academic rigor in meeting ABET student outcomes have enabled the program to be financially self-sustaining beyond the conclusion of the original NSF grant in 2002.
Author Names: Richard Berkey, Michigan Technological University
Zachary Fredin, Michigan Technological University
Keywords: capstone, interdisciplinary, design, enterprise

Title: Coordinating Opportunistic Interdisciplinary Projects Across Single-Discipline Capstone Courses (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: There is increasing interest in developing interdisciplinary capstone courses in which students from different majors enroll to work together on complex, real-world projects. Creation of new interdisciplinary capstone courses may not be feasible for some departments or institutions, however, due to administrative or funding complexities. As an alternative, the inclusion of smaller numbers of interdisciplinary projects engaging students enrolled in separate single-discipline capstone courses may offer the opportunity to undertake interesting projects, or engage with certain sponsors, that would not be possible without the contributions of students from diverse disciplines. The fact that such projects are undertaken by interdisciplinary teams of students who remain in their single-discipline capstone courses, however, does not reduce, and may amplify, the challenges found in full-fledged interdisciplinary capstone courses (e.g., misaligned schedules, differing requirements, and unfamiliar working cultures). This paper provides early lessons learned from a series of opportunistic interdisciplinary capstone projects associated with NASA’s Psyche Asteroid Mission involving students from computer science, computer systems engineering, engineering management, industrial design, and graphic design. The findings highlight the importance of close communication and flexibility between faculty and identify a novel and potentially-replicable approach of including project management students on interdisciplinary teams.
Author Names: Catherine Bowman, Arizona State University
Linda T. Elkins-Tanton, Arizona State University
Dean Bacalzo, Arizona State University
Paul Howell, Arizona State University
Daniel McCarville, Arizona State University
Ryan Meuth, Arizona State University
Eric J. Montgomery, Arizona State University
Alfred Sanft, Arizona State University
Ming Zhao, Arizona State University
Keywords: interdisciplinary, STEAM, workplace culture, assessment

Title: Making experiences matter - attempts to increase recall and transfer in experiential learning
Abstract: Capstone design programs devote significant resources to creating project-based learning opportunities for students. These experiential learning opportunities often contain memorable moments that are much more likely to be recalled by students at a later time than many other college experiences, but it is unclear how much transferable learning students take away from these experiences, and what specific activities and interventions could increase experiential learning transfer for the wide range of students and capstone design experiences that exist. This exploratory work in the use of personal narrative in engineering education is a starting point for ‘making experiences matter’ more in terms of learning that transfers. This work also seeks to help students develop useful interviewing skills for starting and advancing their career.
Author Names: Timothy Cyders, Ohio University
Jane Oberhauser, Ohio University
Joseph Juratovac, Ohio University
Gregory Kremer, Ohio University
Keywords: experiential learning, reflective practice, endorsement, interview

Title: Mighty Minutes for Professional Learning (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: Professional learning is “mighty” important to one’s career and life. Students who are underdeveloped professionally often lack self-confidence and limit their abilities to contribute and reach goals befitting their potential. Unfortunately, students and faculty resist taking time for professional learning in design project contexts. But, note this: Design project contexts are ideal for developing professional abilities that will transfer to the workplace. They also are ideal for assessing these abilities. Making professional learning a natural part of team projects can yield valuable benefits for individuals, teams, and projects. The author presents tools that make brief, mighty minute, exercises of professional learning a natural part of project activity. Research-based principles of how people learn are adopted to achieve learning that is contextualized to where it will be applied. Mighty minute discussions build team cohesiveness, personal satisfaction, team and individual productivity, and professional and social dimensions of project work. Periodic self-assessment gives feedback on learning throughout the project. Through mighty minutes of professional learning, a student explores topics, practices tentative understanding, refines and deepens knowledge, and gains appreciation for professional behaviors that transfer to life and the workplace.
Author Names: Denny Davis, Verity Design Learning
Keywords: professional development, project teams, just-in-time learning

Title: Integrating Rehabilitation Engineering into the Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Course at the University of South Florida
Abstract: This paper discusses some of the successes of using rehabilitation projects in the Capstone Design Course. This is made more effective by the Center for Rehabilitation and Robotic Engineering and Technology, CARRT. This is a mutually beneficial relationship which has produced many successful student projects. It also benefits CARRT by having the students in Capstone Design work with clients and the community.
Author Names: Don Dekker, University of South Florida
Stephen Sundarraao, University of South Florida
Rajiv Dubey, University of South Florida
Keywords: capstone, design, rehabilitation, prototypes

Title: Team Time Cards: a Tool to Increase Accountability and Reduce Social Loafing in Senior Design
Abstract: A common problem in larger Senior Design teams involves "social loafing", where some students fail to contribute their fair share of the work. A team time card system has been developed that provides both the instructor and fellow team members visibility on the efforts and contribution of each student. In the system, each member of the team records weekly project activities and hours worked, and the team leader consolidates and uploads the data as a single team deliverable that all members can see. The instructor uses data from the team time cards along with peer feedback results and faculty observations to generate an instructor evaluation grade for each student twice a semester. The time card and instructor evaluation process was efficient to implement, was well-received by the students, and when used in conjunction with frequent peer feedback, appears to have improved accountability and reduced social loafing for two cycles of senior design students. This system may be particularly helpful for Capstone instructors with large classes and teams who are seeking greater visibility on team processes and more quantifiable data for evaluating individual effort.
Author Names: Kimberly Demoret, Florida Institute of Technology
Keywords: capstone design, teamwork, time cards, accountability

Title: Emerging Leadership Content in Capstone Design Curriculum at the University of Georgia
Abstract: Current literature in engineering education suggests that the typical engineering curriculum does not provide experiences representative of many of the challenges encountered in the professional work place. Because of institutional and other pressures to reduce the total number of credit hours required for graduation, engineering schools must focus classes emphasizing the technical aspects of engineering at the expense of other important topics including professional ethics, entrepreneurialism, leadership, and teamwork. This can lead to professional struggles for new engineering graduates as they may be unprepared to make the transition from the role of engineering student to that of a practicing engineer. As with most capstone courses elsewhere, UGA students solve the technical components of a design project, learn how to manage time and other resources, develop communication skills, and learn to work cooperatively with peers. In addition to these experiences, UGA capstone courses offer other learning experiences that help students understand their future role in the professional work place, develop confidence in their interpersonal skills (and not just their technical skills), create strategies to cope with stress from both professional and personal sources, and cultivate reasonable expectations for their early careers. Unique to this program are collaborations with UGA outreach entities with missions of developing leaders and solving community development issues all across Georgia. UGA students eagerly engage in this unique course structure, and faculty have confidence they leave campus well prepared to be effective, productive, and confident in their emerging careers.
Author Names: Stephan Durham, University of Georgia
Jason Christian, University of Georgia
Cheryl Gomillion, University of Georgia
Jim Kastner, University of Georgia
Peter Kner, University of Georgia
Sidney Thompson, University of Georgia
Tom Lawrence, University of Georgia
Ramana Pidaparti, University of Georgia
Brandy Walker, University of Georgia
Angel Jackson, University of Georgia
Keywords: engineering education, leadership development, entrepreneurialism, capstone projects

Title: Client Interaction Rubrics: Supporting Student Professionalism on Client-Based Projects (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: It is well established that communication between project teams and client sponsors is an essential skill for engineering students and practitioners alike. This paper discusses the development and implementation of two rubrics to guide and support student-client interaction at the outset and throughout the duration of capstone projects. The rubrics were tested in multiple capstone design courses at three institutions. Formal and informal assessment was conducted yielding positive feedback on both rubrics overall, especially regarding the value of each in preparing for meetings. Based on feedback, use of both rubrics will continue; future work includes developing supplemental materials plus performing additional research studies. Both rubrics are available online, are easily editable, and are adaptable for use in whole or in part in capstone and similar project-oriented courses. Through the use of such tools, student engineers are better positioned for creating value for their clients and related projects.
Author Names: John Estell, Ohio Northern University
Susannah Howe, Smith College
B. Kris Jaeger-Helton, Northeastern University
Keywords: rubric, client-interaction, meeting, communication

Title: A Communication-Focused Four-Semester Design Requirement (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: This paper overviews the communication-focused four-semester design clinic requirement included in New Mexico Tech’s Mechanical Engineering program. Beginning in the junior year, majors begin a sequence of four consecutive semesters of design. Paired with the design courses is a required technical writing course taught from within the Mechanical Engineering department whose course design includes course deliverables linked to students’ design projects in order to promote knowledge transfer of communication skills. This four-semester model involves juniors and seniors working together on teams for a range of projects including those supported by industry and government organizations, faculty research, and driven by national student competitions. This unique model involves mentoring of junior students by seniors and includes opportunities for students to work on projects of greater complexity than a one or two-semester design course. Feedback from alumni surveys from 2011-2016 consistently ranked the design clinic as the “best aspect” of the department and attribute “amount of time spent on design” as one of the most valuable components of alumni’s degree. ABET’s Fall 2016 evaluation cited the four-semester design clinic sequence as a program strength.
Author Names: Julie Dyke Ford, New Mexico Tech
Keywords: communication, technical writing, capstone design, knowledge transfer

Title: Exploring Humanitarian Engineering Senior Design as a Community of Practice
Abstract: Humanitarian Engineering (HE) is an emergent subdiscipline of engineering, where teams design to improve the wellbeing of underprivileged communities. As HE begins to become a topic relevant to undergraduate programs, opportunities arise to understand the sociocultural learning that happens on Humanitarian Engineering Senior Design (HESD) teams. This preliminary study uses the Communities of Practice (CoP) framework to establish a foundation for both understanding this learning and continuing to research HESD.
Author Names: Christopher Gewirtz, Virginia Tech
Ashley Taylor, Virginia Tech
Robin Ott, Virginia Tech
Keywords: communities of practice, humanitarian engineering, qualitative research, identity

Title: Individual Grading in Groups: A Capstone Project Practice
Abstract: The ICT industry requires professionals with heterogeneous skills such as technical expertise, business management capabilities, innovative thinking and artistic creativity to work together in order to solve complex problems. To meet this industry demand, Western Sydney University (WSU) in Australia has a final-year capstone program aimed at training students with a range of skills to work together, in a software development project, that would enhance their employability. One of the challenges in this program is awarding a fair grade, that accurately reflects each individual student’s potential. As a solution, WSU has developed a System for Individual Grading in Capstone Projects (SIG-CP). SIG-CP calculates individual marks in a group setting, utilizing: peer, supervisor/mentor, client/sponsor and an academic-panel feedback factors. The approach assesses both the product and process aspect of the capstone work, as well as the quality and quantity of contribution of individual students. Further, the paper presents an analysis on how the average mark varies depending on how and which feedback factors are used in the grading process.
Author Names: Jeewani Anupama Ginige, Western Sydney University
Keywords: capstone, grading, group, individual, fairness, feedback, peer, supervisor, academic, client

Title: The Language of Capstone: A Translator
Abstract: “But that doesn’t apply to MY project.” “We can’t participate in multidisciplinary projects because our work is too specialized.” In an academic environment, where we may spend all day surrounded by people who know the same sorts of things, use the same terminology, and do the same sort of work, it can be easy to fall victim to silo mentality. The real world, however, is not quite so neat. As capstone design instructors it is our job to prepare students for a world where electrical engineers and industrial designers work together to design children’s toys; or where software and biomedical engineers create surgery simulators. This often means providing project opportunities where students collaborate across disciplines. In order to function effectively in this world, students and faculty need a common understanding of each discipline’s respective design process. This paper highlights several different disciplinary design processes and compares the timing and tasks across disciplines and across design process phases.
Author Names: Dan Harel, Rochester Institute of Technology
John Kaemmerlen, Rochester Institute of Technology
Reginald Rogers, Rochester Institute of Technology
James Vallino, Rochester Institute of Technology
Elizabeth DeBartolo, Rochester Institute of Technology
Keywords: interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, collaboration

Title: Preliminary Results from a Study Investigating the Transition from Capstone Design to Industry (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: This study investigates engineering students’ transitions from academic to professional environments by examining the role capstone design courses play in preparing graduates for the workplace. To better understand how capstone design experiences contribute to graduates’ professional preparation, we are collecting data from participants from four different institutions with project-based capstone courses as they begin post-graduation positions in a variety of engineering workplaces. Through quantitative and qualitative methods, our study is designed to collect insights from participants in their first 12 months on the job. Currently we are collecting and analyzing data from the first of two planned cohorts of participants. Preliminary results for the participants in the first cohort point towards interesting trends regarding participants’ frequency of activities and perception of their preparedness. Professional skills such as team meetings were listed most frequently as activities engaged in by participants, and while there were particular areas such as budgeting where participants felt less prepared, overall their perception of preparedness indicates that capstone design courses and the larger engineering curriculum they are housed within are preparing students for professional careers.
Author Names: Susannah Howe, Smith College
Laura Rosenbauer, Smith College
Julie Ford, New Mexico Tech
Nicholas Alvarez, New Mexico Tech
Marie Paretti, Virginia Tech
Christopher Gewirtz, Virginia Tech
Daria Kotys-Schwartz, University of Colorado Boulder
Daniel Knight, University of Colorado Boulder
Cristian Hernandez, University of Colorado Boulder
Keywords: learning transfer, professional preparation, capstone design, school-to-work transition

Title: Conflict in Capstone Design Teams: Sources, Management, and the Role of the Instructor
Abstract: Team conflict can severely impact capstone design teams’ effectiveness and project outcomes. While previous studies have identified common sources of conflict in capstone design project teams, they have mostly relied on instructors accounts of these conflicts. In this paper we present the results of a comprehensive survey of students in the capstone courses of eleven engineering disciplines at a Canadian university. Twenty-two percent of respondents reported having experienced significant conflict in their teams, typically resulting from role ambiguity, ineffective communication, relationship conflict, ineffective project management, and poor team membership behavior. Of those, seventy-six percent reported that team conflict(s) were eventually resolved. Unresolved conflicts were due to teams’ passive approach to conflict management, such as not trying to resolve the conflict or not requesting the intervention of the course instructor until very late in the course. Only twenty-six percent of students in conflict-ridden teams reported having notified the instructor; of those, seventy-two percent were satisfied with the instructor’s intervention. Those that did not notify the instructor were worried about the impact that “reporting” a teammate would have on him/her and team’s future relationship with that teammate. Capstone instructors can constructively assist capstone teams to identify and manage conflict by providing both structured training and need-based interventions.
Author Names: Ada Hurst, University of Waterloo
Mehrnaz Mostafapour, University of Waterloo
Keywords: teamwork, team conflict, conflict management

Title: International, Low-Resource Design Projects: Building Capacity Abroad
Abstract: The Mechanical Engineering program at Virginia Tech is large and continues to grow, with a current class size of about 400 expected to grow to 500 in the next four years. As a result, there has been a need to add design project options in two categories: industrially sponsored and internationally focused humanitarian projects. The international project option has been popular since 2013, with 131 students participating in 21 projects in four countries. Design data from the projects is archived and available to anyone interested in adopting the design for use. The projects have historically been structured so that there is an in-country contact who provides customer needs information for the team during the formative stage. A trip with a subset of the team to the country happens either during fall semester to trial a prototype design, or at the end of the spring to deliver the finished product. This paper presents an overview of the project type that is suitable for international humanitarian capstone design, and it addresses the challenges and rewards of traveling with senior engineering students to resource-limited countries.
Author Names: Kevin Kochersberger, Virginia Tech
Keywords: international, humanitarian, sustainable, entrepreneur

Title: A Qualitative Investigation of Success and Challenges with Team Roles in Capstone Design (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: This study is an initial, exploratory investigation into the use of team roles to structure engineering Capstone Design teams. Team roles in a mechanical engineering Capstone Design course were investigated for patterns of success and challenge in applying the role. Students from three cohorts of Capstone design totaling 491 participants completed a post survey asking them to report on what they did in the role that worked well and what they would do differently in their team role. Data were separated by role and analyzed qualitatively to determine themes across roles with respect to challenges and successes. Results revealed that students were able to articulate specific role responsibilities that had worked to help the team function better. Students were also able to indicate what they would do differently in future design experiences.
Author Names: Daria Kotys-Schwartz, University of Colorado Boulder
Daniel Knight, University of Colorado Boulder
Julie Steinbrenner, University of Colorado Boulder
Keywords: team roles, mechanical engineering, qualitative analysis

Title: Sprint+PDCA Approach to Improving Project Management Skills and Mindset in Capstone Design
Abstract: In recognition of student’s normal resistance to take time to schedule their capstone design projects unless forced by specific assignments, short duration sprint schedules are used to lessen student resistance and build on the growing success of agile project management as a useful tool in industry. Paired with the Plan-Do-Check-Act process improvement cycle, a preliminary Sprint+PDCA implementation in a capstone design course showed positive impacts when compared to a prior year without the treatment, and in surveys and observations of student and team development during the treatment year. Although this work is preliminary and could benefit from more rigorous means of assessing skills and mindset, we believe the results support our hypothesis that the Sprint+PDCA approach takes advantage of industry methods for rapid learning to create favorable conditions for the development of project management skills and mindset. Although we make observations about project management mindset, our experiences highlight the need for a better means of assessing mindset to be developed and tested over a longer time period.
Author Names: Gregory Kremer, Ohio University
Joseph Juratovac, Ohio University
Jacob Smith
Keywords: sprint scheduling, agile project management, PDCA, PDSA, professional mindset

Title: The Unintended Consequences of Capstone as a Writing Intensive Course (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: Many capstone instructors naturally strive for excellence in all aspects of their course. While this is admirable, actions taken to cause excellence in one aspect of a course can lead to the effect of unintended consequences that compromise other aspects of the course. Such a cause-effect situation occurred in the capstone course of the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University (OSU). Efforts to achieve excellence as a Writing Intensive Course (WIC) at OSU lead to capstone becoming a superb writing course, receiving praise from an internal review. However, this excellence came at the expense to the technical content of the course. Course instructor and graduate teaching assistant time and effort expended in support of writing instruction were not available for student technical consultations and instruction. Report length grew as students sought to minimize time in revising report content. Most significantly, design decisions were made based on the impact they would have on the required report content. Specifically, improved designs were not pursued due to the need to revise report content to describe the changes. Currently changes are being implemented to refocus the course on technical excellence. It is hoped others can learn from these experiences.
Author Names: Sharon LeRoux, Oregon State University
John Parmigiani, Oregon State University
Keywords: writing intensive, consequences

Title: Leveraging Industry Sponsorship as a Catalyst for Transformational Change in a Computer Science & Engineering Senior Capstone Design Program
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering Senior Design Industry Sponsorship Program at The University of Texas at Arlington. The program seeks to pair sponsors from a wide variety of industrial sectors with teams of senior students during a two consecutive semester course series in a manner that is mutually beneficial for the student teams, sponsor, and University. Students participating in the program gain “hands on” experience in real-world problem solving, knowledge of specific industries and markets, and early career professional contacts. Industry sponsors benefit from the ability to evaluate multiple students for potential future full-time employment, as well as access to technical insights gained during the design, implementation, and testing of projects that are custom tailored to the fit the interest of the organization. The University benefits from funding for project equipment and materials, increased industry participation in this and other programs, and direct feedback from current and future employers of alumni. We discuss several topics that may be useful to other program directors who seek to establish similar initiatives within their own institutions, such as identification and retention of sponsors, scoping of projects, student development, faculty mentorship, and intellectual property.
Author Names: Christopher McMurrough, The University of Texas at Arlington
Christopher Conly, University of Texas at Arlington
Keywords: capstone design, industry sponsorship, agile development, entrepreneurship

Title: Post-Graduation Assessment of the Effectiveness of an Industrially Sponsored Senior Design Capstone Course
Abstract: Results of a survey of recent graduates who completed the Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Capstone course at the University of Connecticut are presented. Student perspectives on level of effort, effectiveness of course outcomes, and value of the course in their current jobs are presented. Overall results suggest that the industrially sponsored projects together with the class lectures have provided valuable experiences.
Author Names: Vito Moreno, University of Connecticut
Bryan Weber, University of Connecticut
Thomas Barber, University of Connecticut
Keywords: UConn, industry sponsorship, student input

Title: Relating Shared Leadership to Team Effectiveness (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: Waning student engagement over the course of year-long capstone design projects may decrease team effectiveness and create challenges for team faculty advisors and student team leaders. As an influence process, reframing leadership processes for students may provide a tool that can bolster student effort and overall team effectiveness. Recent literature suggests that sharing leadership may be more effective than vertical leadership for complex design work, but little is known regarding shared leadership within the undergraduate engineering context. This study examines the relationship between shared leadership and team effectiveness for undergraduate, mechanical engineering capstone design teams using an adaptation of the Full Range of Leadership model. Results indicate that the overall strength and a limited sharing of select team leadership behaviors relates to a team’s group process and individual satisfaction, but not task performance. This study provides capstone faculty with insights into effective leadership behaviors that may be encouraged within the capstone design experience.
Author Names: Brian Novoselich, United States Military Academy
David Knight, Virginia Tech
Keywords: engineering leadership, social network analysis, transformational leadership, mechanical engineering design, dapstone design

Title: Interest-Based Capstone Team Formation
Abstract: How might student teams be formed to prioritize individual engagement and motivation, given a cohort of students and a batch of capstone project concepts? For the capstone course in the Computer Science Bachelor’s degree at University of Colorado, students rank their top five project preferences and instructors use that indication of interest as the driving factor in forming teams. Students in two years of the CS Senior Projects capstone self-selected to participate in a semi-structured qualitative interview about their experience. This paper investigates how use of student interests as the primary basis for forming capstone teams may influence students’ perceptions of their experiences in the capstone project. Themes include legitimacy of real-world projects, engagement of students, and ownership of project decisions.
Author Names: Richard Parker, University of Colorado
Keywords: interest, engagement, ownership, qualitative interviews

Title: Successful Capstone Design Projects Using Peer Review Assessment
Abstract: This paper describes the educational experiences obtained during the Senior Design I & II, a senior level, two-semester course sequence in the Electrical Engineering (EE) program at Georgia Southern University (GSU), using a peer review process to evaluate capstone projects advances during all the phases of their implementation. In particular, the authors present their experiences in using a peer view process to evaluate the oral presentations and written reports submitted by the teams for each phase of the projects. The authors main tasks was advising teams of students working in developing their capstone projects with focus in interdisciplinary interactions and teamwork for the design and implementation of projects in the area of Electrical Engineering. The paper also presents the peer review design process and implementation as well as the results obtained in the Senior Design course sequence.
Author Names: Fernando Rios, Georgia Southern University
Rocio Alba-Flores, Georgia Southern University
Keywords: capstone design, peer review, assessment, teamwork

Title: Winning Day One: Setting Up Capstone Students for Success
Abstract: Engineering capstone projects provide an opportunity for students to gain pre-professional experience in a scaffolded learning environment. The year-long capstone experience at Olin College combines practice working on a real-world engineering project with opportunities to develop skills in teaming and project management. Throughout Olin’s project-focused undergraduate curriculum, students are introduced to strategies for maintaining team health and Scrum project management; the longer length of the capstone project provides an opportunity to reinforce the value of these techniques. Here, we describe a strategy for promoting synthesis of these key skills that includes a focus on course kick-off. On day one, students engage with the project, their teams, and faculty advisors to consider both the project ahead and their strategies to approach managing the project and their team health. The activities implemented on day one tie into additional student workshops throughout the year that support professional skill development.
Author Names: Alisha Sarang-Sieminski, Olin College
Alexandra Coso Strong, Olin College
Jason Woodard, Olin College
Samantha Michalka, Olin College
Keywords: curriculum, teamwork, human-centered design, scrum

Title: Running Capstone Like a Business – Focus on the Client (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: Many engineering capstone programs are managed and executed as traditional student projects with academic mentors. In this model, the focus appears to be on the student and not on the outcome but often both suffer. This paper outlines a capstone management model within the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department at Iowa State University where capstone is run as a business with emphasis on the client. In this department 100% of the one semester capstone projects are supported by industry at $5,000. In this model, nearly every project is managed to a successful outcome with students performing the work under close supervision of practicing engineers. The key premise is that students learn how to execute successful engineering projects by performing successful engineering projects, and that clients are willing to participate and fund these projects.
Author Names: David Sly, Iowa State University
Keywords: expectations, project scoping, industry relationships, industry value, student value, course deliverables

Title: Quantitative Literacy in Capstone Design
Abstract: One of the desired outcomes of capstone design is the ability to use mathematical arguments such as calculations, modeling, and statistical data analysis to inform design decisions. The VALUE rubric for quantitative literacy was used to assess the work of 24 capstone teams. The goal was to determine if there were particular team or project characteristics that led to high quantitative literacy in the final project. Correlation analysis indicates that high levels of quantitative literacy are associated with more successful projects. In particular, the ability to discuss and present calculations seems to be an indicator of success. The source of project, whether industry, faculty, or student developed, did not have a strong effect on quantitative literacy.
Author Names: Bridget Smyser, Northeastern University
Andrew Gouldstone, Northeastern University
Keywords: quantitative literacy, capstone design

Title: Formation of Interdisciplinary Teams in Engineering Capstone Courses using a Project Fair Format (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: The process for identifying prospective interdisciplinary capstone projects and aligning them with an appropriate mix of student teams requires a large coordinated effort among multiple departments. To address this challenge, the engineering departments at the University of Idaho have implemented a project fair format to introduce project options to the students and facilitate the team formation process more efficiently. Sponsored projects are recruited from both internal and external clients while capturing the projects’ interdisciplinary needs. Students attend a one day Capstone Project Fair event at the start of the semester to research each project option and subsequently submit their respective project preferences. Team formation is conducted by faculty to align student preferences with the interdisciplinary needs of each project. The Project Fair successfully reduces the time required for the team formation process, while several other benefits for both the students and the projects sponsors are also observed.
Author Names: Matthew Swenson, University of Idaho
Michael Maughan, University of Idaho
Daniel Cordon, University of Idaho
Edwin Odom, University of Idaho
Steve Beyerlein, University of Idaho
Keywords: interdisciplinary, student team formation, sponsored projects, project fair

Title: An Engineering / Entrepreneurship Capstone Collaboration: Providing Real-World Experiential Learning
Abstract: Piloted in the fall of 2016, a collaboration was launched between the VCU Schools of Engineering and Business. The alliance seeks to bring together traditional Engineering capstone senior design programs and Business School Entrepreneurship capstone courses, creating a robust collaboration between the two, heretofore, very distinct curricula. The intent is to provide students from both disciplines with an experience that mirrors product and business development processes found in most engineering–centric industrial companies. At VCU, the program was the brainchild of the Entrepreneurship program in Business and the capstone design apparatus in Engineering. The first cohort went through the program in 2016-17. Engineering projects were chosen based on the following criteria: (1) Not industrially sponsored: (2) Directed at VCU Health, non-profit and faculty / student sponsors; and (3) Exhibit a clear pathway to a potentially tangible, saleable product. In 2016, 11 Engineering projects meeting these criteria were chosen. Senior, undergraduate Entrepreneurship track business students then bid on the selection of engineering projects. Outcomes were impressive for the first year of the trial – of the 11 projects in the program, two spun out as private, entrepreneurial ventures. In most cases, students and faculty rated the collaboration highly. Areas of improvement were identified and adjusted for the 2017-18 cohort. These included the need to enforce initial interactions between the two disparate teams, and to train faculty advisors and students in the language of the partner department.
Author Names: Bennett Ward, Virginia Commonwealth University
Susan Coombes, Virginia Commonwealth University
Keywords: capstone, industrial projects, multidisciplinary, business, entrepreneurship

Title: Awarding Failing Grades in a Senior Capstone Design Course (Paper, Poster)
Abstract: Assigning individual grades to students who work in teams on year-long capstone design projects poses many challenges. Each student’s performance and contribution to project success are difficult to assess. It is not unusual for a member of a student design team to fail to do his or her “fair share” of the project work. In extreme cases, a student’s contribution may be so lacking that a failing grade is warranted. But failing a student in a senior capstone design course is problematic for a number of reasons. Unlike a traditional course where poor performance on exams, homework, or projects can fully justify a failing grade, it is difficult to be certain that a student’s performance is sufficiently lacking to warrant a failing grade. The burden of proof typically falls on the instructor to demonstrate that the student “deserves” to fail the class rather than the student demonstrating that sufficient work was done to earn a passing grade. The decision also has a significant impact on the student, likely delaying their graduation by a semester or more. For many reasons, it is not uncommon to award passing grades to students that have not in fact earned them. This paper addresses severe student performance issues, offers strategies to motivate student performance, and details a mechanism for awarding a failing grade when warranted.
Author Names: Gregory Watkins, California State University Chico
Keywords: expectations, grading, student performance, failure