Guest Editorial Special Issue on Project-Based, Senior Design, and Capstone Courses in Engineering Education
Mohammed Hamed EL Abd
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Senior design and capstone courses are an integral part of any engineering curriculum around the world. These courses perhaps provide the only opportunity for students to apply the theoretical knowledge and technical skills they have acquired throughout the engineering degree. Moreover, they are often the (sole) environment in which students get some of the professional and transversal skills too. In addition, such courses present a great degree of nonuniformity since the students engage in projects of different nature (e.g., research oriented versus application oriented). Furthermore, not only do these courses prepare students for real-life engineering practice, they also serve as a major component in measuring program outcomes. The survey conducted over two decades ago by Todd et al. [item 1) in the Appendix], which collected responses from 360 departments across 173 schools, highlighted many of the issues related with capstone courses that are still relevant today. Such issues include course format, different degrees of faculty involvement, and project completion requirements. Indeed, all points highlighted thus far emphasize the importance of adequately designing and assessing capstone design courses.