Tom Eppes, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, CETA; Ivana Milanovic, associate professor of mechanical engineering, CETA; and H. Frederick Sweitzer, assistant provost and dean of faculty development, have published an article in the Journal of Innovative Higher Education, (JoIHE, Springer).
The JoIHE features descriptions and evaluations of current innovations and provocative new ideas with relevance for action beyond immediate context in higher education. The journal focuses on the effect of such innovations on teaching and students with a balance of practice and theory.
Their paper, "Strengthening Capstone Skills in STEM Programs," describes a curricular strategy that improves the skill sets critical to capstone success in which experiential courses sequentially introduce challenging and open-ended assignments that foster cognitive learning. Using a scaffolding structure, assignments are organized into three modules: classical, transitional, and design of an experiment. Results obtained in a cohort of students confirm that students were better prepared for the rigors of capstone design using the proposed strategy. The paper recommends that this approach be considered as a national model for application across all STEM programs.