A Design-Implement Capstone Project in Electronics Engineering

A Design-Implement Capstone Project in Electronics Engineering

P. Van Torre, J. Verhaevert (2017).  A Design-Implement Capstone Project in Electronics Engineering. 12.

CDIO projects are planned every bachelor year in the curriculum of the Electronic Engineering educational program at Ghent University, Belgium. Students are expected to participate in gradually more demanding projects over the progress of their bachelor years. In this paper, the project in the third bachelor year is presented. This is a capstone project resulting into the bachelor’s dissertation, for which students are required to conceive, design, implement, document and present a technically advanced project.

The students work in teams of three people and select a project presented by their professors at the beginning of the second semester. The projects are linked to the research groups of our department, covering wireless communication, image processing, acoustics, automation, radiofrequency circuit design and general purpose electronics design. Coaching throughout the projects is provided by the professor as well as a number of assistants.

During the first project weeks, students are required to perform an extensive literature review and document their work using the proper references. Additionally a fully detailed functional and technical analysis should be presented in separate chapters of the bachelor’s dissertation text. The functional analysis should be readable to the average user, and does not contain implementation details. The technical implementation is elaborately presented in a separate technical analysis chapter, containing sufficient details to allow reproduction of the implementation.

A full afternoon is reserved for lab work each week. Students generally see their coaches in the lab, but can also contact them outside lab hours. Feedback and communication between students and coaches are very extensive. Regular project meetings are organized, during which the project planning is updated if necessary, setting intermediate deadlines in agreement with the coaches.

The work is disseminated as follows. At the end of the project, the bachelor’s dissertation documents the results and also reflects on them. Accurate scientific reporting and documenting are required throughout the dissertation, including proper references as well as using correct spelling, grammar and language. A poster is also produced by the students, presenting an overview of their work in a structured and visually appealing way. A final presentation, preferably including a demonstration as a proof-of-concept, concludes the project.

Compared to all previous projects in the educational program, the bachelor’s dissertation is characterized by a larger responsibility for the student, supported by much more extensive and complete reporting, including a literature review with proper referencing. Different ways of active learning are included. Considering the grading of the project, not only technical content, but also writing and presentation skills are taken into account.

For the first time in the curriculum, the project offers the students a full product design and development cycle. The project is very successful and motivating for the students. In a regular curriculum, the third bachelor year is followed by a master year, including a master’s dissertation. Therefore the CDIO course discussed in this paper is not only serving as a bachelor program’s capstone project, but is also an excellent preparation to the master’s dissertation and its corresponding more extensive research project.

Proceedings of the 13th International CDIO Conference in Calgary, Canada, June 18-22 2017

Authors (New): 
Patrick Van Torre
Jo Verhaevert
Ghent University, Belgium
Design-Implement Experiences
Engineering Workspaces
integrated learning experiences
Active learning
Learning Assessment
CDIO Standard 5
CDIO Standard 6
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 11
Course specifications (2016) Retrieved from http://studiegids.ugent.be/2016/EN/studiefiches/E731035.pdf: 
Gonzáles, A., Hurtado, J., Renneberg, K., Bravo, F. & Viveros, F. (2016). Active Learning in Electronics Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016.: 
Kjærgaard C., Brauer P., Andersen J.C. (2012) CDIO projects in DTU’s b.eng. in electronics study programme. Proceedings of the 7th International CDIO Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 20- 23 2011.: 
Lundheim, L., Ekman, T., Gajic, B., Larsen, B. & Tybell, T. (2016). Early Innovation Projects: First experiences from the Electronic Engineering Ladder at NTNU. Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016.: 
Verhaevert, J., & Van Torre, P. (2016). On Design-implement Projects in Electronic Engineering. Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016.: 
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