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Elements of a successful capstone course considering the needs of stakeholders

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One of the principal objectives of engineering education is to prepare graduates for the practice of engineering in industry. Industry involvement in the educational process can be very helpful in devising programs to meet this objective. Yet, engineering education has a number of other stakeholders including students, faculty, academic administrators, and others. Identifying and meeting the needs and wants of these various stakeholders is essential in developing educational programs and learning activities that are effective and sustainable. Stakeholders in engineering education are identified, including their wants and needs. Alternative approaches to developing a Capstone course, with input from these stakeholders, are proposed and evaluated in light of stakeholder needs and wants. A case study for developing a two-semester senior design capstone course at Brigham Young University is presented. In this example more than 300 industry sponsored, design and build, projects have been completed by cross-functional student teams over more than ten years. Feedback from alumni on the success of this course in meeting desired educational objectives is also presented.
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Keywords: Capstone; Capstone design courses; Engineering education design process; Engineering education stake-holders; Industry/academia interaction; Sr. design courses

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602

Publication date: 01 May 2005

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