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An Investigation Into the Factors Influencing Student Capstone Project Selection

[+] Author Affiliations
Steven R. Harper, Elise M. Barrella, Jacquelyn K. Nagel, Robert L. Nagel

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Paper No. DETC2013-12633, pp. V001T04A010; 7 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: 15th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 10th International Conference on Design Education; 7th International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5584-3
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Our engineering program includes a two-year capstone experience. At the beginning of this experience, students bid into projects by rank ordering first, second, and third choice projects. Students’ decisions for long term commitments, such as selecting a capstone team, use various forms of bounded rationality. When making a choice on which two year capstone project to select and rank, there may be many reasons why a particular student or set of students will pick a project. In this study, we looked across three years of project selection and ranking data using a competing hypothesis to gain insight into the reasons with the greatest explanatory power on why projects are chosen. Implication of what this means regarding the overall portfolio of projects is offered as well as how to craft projects and project descriptions such that they garner more student interest and can lead to more excitement and learning.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Students



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