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The capstone design experience is an important component of our undergraduate engineering program. Until recently the capstone project was only the second major design experience for undergraduates, the first occurring in the freshman year Because of this gap in project experience, seniors often had difficulty with nontechnical skills (teamwork, effective communication, project management, etc.) despite instruction in these skills at the start of their senior year. We have used the existing ECE course in Digital Systems Design as an opportunity to include a major design project in the junior year. By introducing juniors to nontechnical skills, in the senior year the skills are reinforced rather than introduced, and the seniors understand the necessity of learning and applying these skills. This paper describes the revised Digital Systems Design course, focusing on a description of the semester-long project. We describe the project mechanics, examples of projects, and how the project experience develops nontechnical skills.
Frontiers in Education, 2002. FIE 2002. 32nd Annual (Volume:2 )
Date of Conference: 2002