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Comparing the Perspectives of Engineering Students, Business Students, and Faculty Advisors Toward Successful Planning of Capstone Projects

[+] Author Affiliations
Steven Harper, Robert L. Nagel

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Paper No. DETC2012-70610, pp. 227-235; 9 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 9th International Conference on Design Education; 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4506-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


One of the common goals in engineering design education is to provide real-world experiences that mimic the design experiences a student might encounter once graduated. An approach we use in the School of Engineering (SOE) at James Madison University (JMU) is a multidisciplinary pairing of business students from the College of Business and engineering students from the School of Engineering. Engineering and business students are positioned to learn from each other, and to collaborate together as they develop a feasible project plan for a two-year engineering project. In this paper, we present a study investigating the differing perceptions between faculty advisors, engineering students, and business students related to the successful capstone plan development. We hypothesized that each of the different functional groups (business students, engineering students, and faculty advisors) would have different view points on the planning and status of the infant capstone projects. The results indicate that, in the areas of planning and scheduling, the advisors are grouped with the engineering students, and in the areas of directing and controlling, the advisors are grouped with the business students. The time horizon of the students guides how they view unresolved problems with the planning and status of the project. This led to the business students, who were on the project for only one semester, to stand apart in their pessimistic assessment of the planning and scheduling of the project. The engineering students, who are on the project for the full two years, tended to be more optimistic about the directing and controlling aspects of the project.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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