Tom Eppes, associate professor of electrical engineering, and Ivana Milanovic, associate professor of mechanical engineering, both CETA, recently published an article in the American Journal of Engineering Education (AJEE). The AJEE publishes articles that bridge the worlds of theory and practice, identify cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional innovation, and describe educational strategies to address the changing role that engineering plays in society and in driving local and global economies.
The paper, "Capstone Design Project Course Pathways," discusses the structure, approach, and evolution of capstone projects within two CETA programs, MET and EET. Capstones are open-ended undertakings in which students are expected to creatively analyze, synthesize, and apply a wide variety of learning outcomes from prior coursework. These two programs have adopted different solutions toward planning, organizing, and execution.
The areas of contrast are: 1) sourcing, 2) type, 3) feedback and evaluation, 4) assessment methodology, 5) supplemental resources, and 6) curricular strategy. The advantages and disadvantages of different approaches are discussed along with the issues and benefits experienced by students, faculty, and industry sponsors.
In the sixth area, curricular strategy, a means to improve capstone readiness and performance is presented in which experiential courses within a topical area sequentially introduce challenging and open-ended assignments that foster cognitive learning.