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Engineering education, design and senior projects

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1 Author(s)
Hoole, S.R.H. ; Dept. of Eng., Harvey Mudd Coll., Claremont, CA, USA

The role of senior year projects in engineering education is addressed. The author examines the meaning of design in relation to the senior project experience and offers the distinction between, in the author's terminology, discrete design and continuous design. The ability to do continuous design comes from a sound theoretical background, and expertise in discrete design comes more from experience. On this basis, it is argued that the education of an engineer is a partnership between university and industry, with the university providing the theory and industry giving experientially accumulated instinct. In providing in-house senior design programs, universities have imposed the fiction that they provide true industrial experience and have encroached into what industry can do better. Senior projects should, therefore, be dispensed with and universities should concentrate on teaching the theory, leaving the completion of the engineer's education to industry.

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 2 )