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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Optical engineering capstone design projects with industry sponsors

Paper Abstract

Capstone senior design is the culmination of a student’s undergraduate engineering education that prepares them for engineering practice. In fact, any engineering degree program that pursues accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET must contain “a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints.” At Rose-Hulman, we offer an interdisciplinary Optical Engineering / Engineering Physics senior design curriculum that meets this requirement. Part of this curriculum is a two-course sequence where students work in teams on a design project leading to a functional prototype. The students begin work on their capstone project during the first week of their senior year. The courses are deliverable-driven and the students are held accountable for regular technical progress through weekly updates with their faculty advisor and mid-term design reviews. We have found that client-sponsored projects offer students an enriched engineering design experience as it ensures consideration of constraints and standards requirements similar to those that they will encounter as working engineers. Further, client-sponsored projects provide teams with an opportunity for regular customer interactions which help shape the product design. The process that we follow in both soliciting and helping to scope appropriate industry-related design projects will be described. In addition, an outline of the capstone course structure as well as methods used to hold teams accountable for technical milestones will be discussed. Illustrative examples of past projects will be provided.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 September 2014
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9188, Optics Education and Outreach III, 918804 (15 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2061102
Show Author Affiliations
Robert M. Bunch, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (United States)
Paul O. Leisher, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (United States)
Sergio C. Granieri, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9188:
Optics Education and Outreach III
G. Groot Gregory, Editor(s)

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