The design of products and processes is an important area in engineering. Students in engineering schools learn fundamental principles in their courses but often lack an opportunity to apply these methods to real-world problems until their senior year. This article describes important elements that should be incorporated into a senior capstone design course. It includes a description of the general principles used in engineering design and a discussion of why students often have difficulty with application and revert to trial and error methods. The structure of a properly designed capstone course is dissected and its individual components are evaluated. Major components include assessing resources, identifying projects, establishing teams, understanding requirements, developing conceptual designs, creating detailed designs, building prototypes, testing performance, and final presentations. In addition to the course design, team management and effective mentoring are critical to success. This article includes suggested guidelines and tips for effective design team leadership, attention to detail, investment of time, and managing project scope. Furthermore, the importance of understanding business culture, displaying professionalism, and considerations of different types of senior projects is discussed. Through a well-designed course and proper mentoring, students will learn to apply their engineering skills and gain basic business knowledge that will prepare them for entry-level positions in industry.

References

References
1.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
,
2015
, “
Mechanical Engineers
,” U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm
2.
NSF
,
2012
, “
National Medal of Science 50th Anniversary—Theodore von Kármán (1881-1963)
,” National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/medalofscience50/vonkarman.jsp
3.
Oakes
,
W. C.
,
Leone
,
L. L.
,
Gunn
,
C. J.
,
Dilworth
,
J.
, and
Gruender
,
J. L.
,
2012
,
Engineering Your Future: A Brief Introduction to Engineering
,
Oxford University Press
,
New York
.
4.
Zytner
,
R.
,
Donald
,
J.
,
Gordon
,
K.
,
Clemmer
,
R.
, and
Thompson
,
J.
,
2015
, “
Using Rubrics in a Capstone Engineering Design Course
,”
Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference
(
CEEA15
), McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, May 31–June 3.
5.
Thigpen
,
L.
,
Glakpe
,
E.
,
Gomes
,
G.
, and
McCloud
,
T.
,
2004
, “
A Model for Teaching Multidisciplinary Capstone Design in Mechanical Engineering
,”
34th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
(
FIE 2004
), Howard University, Washington, DC, Oct. 20–23, pp.
S2G-1
S2G-6
.
6.
Edwards
,
S. H.
,
2014
, “
Work-in-Progress: Program Grading and Feedback Generation With Web-CAT
,”
First ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale Conference
(
L@S '14
), Atlanta, GA, Mar. 4–5, pp.
215
216
.
7.
Cooper
,
R. G.
,
2008
, “
Perspective: The Stage-Gate (R) Idea-to-Launch Process-Update, What's New, and NexGen Systems
,”
J. Prod. Innovation Manage.
,
25
(
3
), pp.
213
232
.
8.
Leithold
,
N.
,
Haase
,
H.
, and
Lautenschläger
,
A.
,
2015
, “
Stage-Gate®for SMEs: A Qualitative Study in Germany
,”
Eur. J. Innovation Manage.
,
18
(
2
), pp.
130
149
.
9.
Chao
,
R. O.
,
Lichtendahl
,
K. C.
, and
Grushka-Cockayne
,
Y.
,
2014
, “
Incentives in a Stage-Gate Process
,”
Prod. Oper. Manage.
,
23
(
8
), pp.
1286
1298
.
10.
Hotaling
,
N.
,
Fasse
,
B. B.
,
Bost
,
L. F.
,
Hermann
,
C. D.
, and
Forest
,
C. R.
,
2012
, “
A Quantitative Analysis of the Effects of a Multidisciplinary Engineering Capstone Design Course
,”
J. Eng. Educ.
,
101
(
4
), pp.
630
656
.
11.
Moreno
,
V.
, and
Barber
,
T.
, “
Organization and Management of an Industry Sponsored Capstone Senior Design Course
,”
ASME
Paper No. IMECE2014-39296.
12.
Dym
,
C. L.
,
2004
, “
Design, Systems, and Engineering Education
,”
Int. J. Eng. Educ.
,
20
(
3
), pp.
305
312
.
13.
Ohland
,
M. W.
,
Loughry
,
M. L.
,
Woehr
,
D. J.
,
Finelli
,
C. J.
,
Bullard
,
L. G.
,
Felder
,
R. M.
,
Layton
,
R. A.
,
Pomeranz
,
H. R.
, and
Schmucker
,
D. G.
,
2012
, “
The Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness: Development of a Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale for Self and Peer Evaluation
,”
Acad. Manage. Learn. Educ.
,
11
(
4
), pp.
609
630
.
14.
Graham
,
M.
,
Slocum
,
A.
, and
Sanehez
,
R. M.
,
2007
, “
Teaching High School Students and College Freshmen Product Development by Deterministic Design With PREP
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
129
(
7
), pp.
677
681
.
15.
Lemons
,
G.
,
Carberry
,
A.
,
Swan
,
C.
,
Rogers
,
C.
, and
Jarvin
,
L.
,
2010
, “
The Benefits of Model Building in Teaching Engineering Design
,”
Des. Stud.
,
31
(
3
), pp.
288
309
.
16.
Bankert
,
E. A.
, and
Amdur
,
R. J.
,
2009
,
Institutional Review Board: Management and Function
,
Jones & Bartlett Learning
,
Burlington, MA
.
17.
Ward
,
T. A.
,
2013
, “
Common Elements of Capstone Projects in the World's Top-Ranked Engineering Universities
,”
Eur. J. Eng. Educ.
,
38
(
2
), pp.
211
218
.
18.
Niewoehner
,
R. J.
, and
Steidle
,
C. E.
,
2009
, “
The Loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia: Portaging Leadership Lessons With a Critical Thinking Model
,”
Eng. Manage. J.
,
21
(
1
), pp.
9
18
.
19.
Lave
,
J.
,
1982
, “
A Comparative Approach to Educational Forms and Learning Processes
,”
Anthropol. Educ. Q.
,
13
(
2
), pp.
181
187
.
20.
Bruni
,
F.
,
2015
, “
The Myth of Quality Time
,” The New York Times, New York, accessed May 9, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/opinion/sunday/frank-bruni-the-myth-of-quality-time.html
You do not currently have access to this content.