Conference Paper: Creating a Marketplace for Multidisciplinary Multi-University Systems Engineering Capstone Projects

Title:  Creating a Marketplace for Multidisciplinary Multi-University Systems Engineering Capstone Projects

Publication Date 3/19/2013

Conference 11th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research

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Abstract
Our previous research has shown that multidisciplinary capstone programs can enhance development of systems engineering competencies. However, undergraduate engineering capstone projects typically focus on only one engineering discipline. One way to foster more collaboration between engineering departments and students is to partner with colleagues at other universities.
Although this provides more challenges for students it also exposes them to a wider variety of peers.

Good capstone experiences involve sponsors with real needs. Finding and engaging such sponsors takes time and effort by faculty that might be better spent on other tasks. It would be easier if a global marketplace existed for multidisciplinary engineering capstone problems and projects. A marketplace would allow sponsors to propose challenging projects that require systems thinking across multiple disciplines. It would allow students to self-organize and select projects based on their backgrounds and interests. It would also allow faculty to focus on guiding student learning rather than defining challenging capstone projects and obtaining necessary resources.

This paper describes an ongoing pilot project to develop a marketplace for multidisciplinary systems engineering capstone projects. Students from six different universities have applied to projects that were posted to the marketplace website by sponsors from government and industry. Each team includes students from different disciplines and different schools. The goals of the pilot project are to determine the requirements for a global electronic marketplace and to develop guidelines for faculty, students and sponsors who would use it.

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