Developing and conducting an industry based capstone design course

  • Ruud C
  • Deleveaux V
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In an increasingly competitive marketplace, today's engineering
graduate must be equipped to meet the needs of industry and these needs
are not limited to technical competence. They include the ability to:
consider alternative solutions and their impact on various operations;
work in interdisciplinary teams; manage projects; tie projects to the
bottom line profitability of the enterprise; and communicate
effectively. In many cases, graduates are ill-prepared to meet these
challenges. The Penn State Department of Industrial and Manufacturing
Engineering, USA, has designed, developed and conducted a senior
capstone course to address certain key skill deficiencies of the
engineering graduate. The course is conducted in cooperation with
parallel sections in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and as a
consequence, many of the student teams are composed of students from all
three disciplines. The course provides the student with a realistic
experience that helps with the transition from theory to the real
practice of engineering. This paper identifies those elements in the
design and conduct of the course that ensures a good experience for both
industrial partners and students. Important concepts such as selecting
good industrial sponsors and coaching versus supervising are discussed

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  • C.O. Ruud

  • V.J. Deleveaux

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