Design in the Engineering Curricula: A Changing Environment
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The capstone design course in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has involved industrial participation for more than forty years. The capstone course requires close cooperation between industry, university faculty and students and gives undergraduate students a strong exposure to the design experience, but, by itself, does not give sufficient design content to the curriculum. The capstone course has generated and supported change in the department. Over the last decade, the Mechanical Engineering Department has significantly increased the design content of other courses in the undergraduate curriculum (from the freshman to the senior year). Additionally, the Department has expanded the design content of the graduate program. This paper describes the changes in the Mechanical Engineering Department as well as the inter-departmental cooperation which strengthens the capstone experience.