2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, July 26-29, 2021, Virtual Conference
In any engineering program the capstone project is the most comprehensive work completed by the students, and is regarded as the pinnacle of their engineering studies, with all their course work culminating with this major design, implementation and reporting product. Coming up with the actual topic of the project is sometimes the most difficult part of the project, especially in programs where the project topics are not solely proposed by the faculty, and they are for the student and advisor to develop together. This is especially the case of engineering technology programs, where a large percentage of students have work background (either from military training or industry, as interns or full-time employees) to which they can relate their senior projects, and the programs allow and encourage them to apply their coursework studies to application areas where they have strong hands-on skills. While core courses of any curriculum provide the foundation of the engineering education, the elective courses give the students the chance to refine their education path and focus on the area of their interest. Senior elective courses are defining the areas of specialization within a major, and they may also serve as grounds for the students to explore potential options for the capstone project, and to have the opportunity to get a good starting point for it, ahead of the capstone semester. In this paper, the senior level courses specific to communication systems area of concentration within an electrical engineering technology program are discussed, their course content and the term projects included, and how they offer venues to capstone project choices. The paper presents specific examples of how these course projects gave students successful pathways for capstone projects. The course content that can be covered by the curriculum of an undergraduate technology program is somehow limited, especially for a broad field such as communication systems, and beyond the fundamental theories, the courses can go in more details only on very few narrow areas. Therefore, with a term project in an elective course, students have the opportunity of a semester of deeper study of a topic of their choice, and the learnings and new skills developed can be later applied for the completion of a capstone project. The paper also discusses students’ opinions on the option of developing initial results or skills as part of a course project and continuing such project into a senior project, as well as how their topic selection is related to their background, previous experience and future goals.
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Original Publication Citation
Popescu, O., & Kuzlu, M. (2021, July), Senior elective communications systems courses as pathways to capstone projects in electrical engineering technology program [Paper presentation]. 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37707
Popescu, Otilia and Kuzlu, Murat, "Senior Elective Communications Systems Courses as Pathways to Capstone Projects in Electrical Engineering Technology Program" (2021). Engineering Technology Faculty Publications. 171.