Differences between student and faculty expectations for a robotics capstone design project

Kevin Sevilla, Maura J Borrego, Alexander Leonessa

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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    The typical U.S. engineering curriculum begins with three years of structured coursework followed by a final year of technical electives and the choice of a relevant capstone design project. In mechanical engineering this project is designed to integrate the concepts from these courses towards the production of a working mechanical system. Unaccustomed to making connections between this course material and hands on design, students often have difficulty seeing how this type of book knowledge is relevant towards the solution of an authentic design problem. This issue can best be expressed through the differences in expectations among the students and their faculty advisor, and when compared, highlight some of the discrepancies between the two viewpoints. To investigate this issue, a series of interviews was conducted between a set of capstone design students and their faculty advisor on a mechanical engineering team preparing an entry for an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) competition. The interview protocol contained items addressing prerequisite knowledge and experiences, project expectations, and where this knowledge was, or should have been, acquired. Results indicate that there are differences between students with only college experience, those with some industry experience, and the faculty advisor with several years of experience with the specific design task. These differences illustrate real world understanding of the classical design process and show how it can be utilized to achieve greater integration in an authentic design context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 118th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
    Subtitle of host publicationYour Passport to Engineering Education
    Place of PublicationUnited States
    PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    Event2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada
    Duration: 26 Jun 201129 Jun 2011


    Conference2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
    Abbreviated titleYour Passport to Engineering Education
    OtherThe ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition is the only conference dedicated to all disciplines of engineering education. It is committed to fostering the exchange of ideas, enhancing teaching methods and curriculum, and providing prime networking opportunities for engineering and technology education stakeholders such as deans, faculty members and industry and government representatives. The ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition hosts over 400 technical sessions, with peer-reviewed papers spanning all disciplines of engineering education. Attendees include deans, faculty and researchers, students, and retirees. Distinguished lectures run throughout the conference, starting with the main plenary. In addition to various award receptions and banquets, ASEE hosts a complimentary "Meet the Board Forum," providing the opportunity for all registrants to meet with members of the ASEE Board of Directors and discuss current issues in engineering and technology. The spouse/guest tours help make the conference an event for the entire family. Other highlights include the "Greet the Stars" orientation for new ASEE members and first-time conference attendees, the ASEE Picnic, and the "Focus on Exhibits" Happy Hour and Brunch. The 2011 conference will be in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. We look forward to welcoming you there.
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