Student-centered assessment of the capstone design project course in mechanical engineering program

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4 Scopus citations


This paper focused on how a competent faculty member could improve the learning experience and reduce the anxiety of the students of the capstone design projects in the mechanical engineering program. The faculty advisor provides the students with the guidelines of the best engineering practices and frequent feedback throughout the project. Two main changes have been implemented and tested in managing the capstone design project course in the mechanical engineering program. First, the course requirements have been divided into multiple deliverables that were distributed throughout the semesters instead of having all the requirements delivered at the end of the semester. The overall grade was distributed among these deliverables instead of having only a final report and a presentation. Second, for each deliverable, a customized rubric which detailed the expectations of the project sponsor and the faculty advisor, was provided to the students. Such rubrics act as a roadmap for the students so that they can accomplish the project goals with minimum day-to-day help from the faculty advisor. Additionally, rubrics for the soft skills, such as teamwork effectiveness and time and communication skills were provided as well, so that students were aware of what were expected from them. Mixed qualitative and quantitative approaches have been used in this study including, questionnaires, surveys, course evaluations, and observations. The new changes proved to be effective in improving students' learning experience, reducing the students' anxiety, and improving the assessment objectivity and transparency as well. However, the effect of using rubrics to assess the soft skills was not measured separately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)998-1008
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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