The higher engineering education in China is reforming for producing high-quality engineering talents with multidimensional capabilities, i.e. both soft and hard skill. It is widely acknowledged that capstone design (abbreviated as CD) plays an important role in the design curriculum for engineering students to construct their ability to meet the requirements of industry and sharpen their integrated design skills. The most common form of capstone design in China is a research based on students’ individual projects mainly supervised and sponsored by professors, in which students are expected to acquire deep knowledge. However, this kind of capstone design has some major drawbacks, such as lack of teamwork, design communication, problem identification, and system engineering thinking, etc., which are ranked as top of core competencies by industry. It obviously exists a gap between industry need and engineering education.
As the same time, many leading universities have carried out capstone design courses, e.g. Georgia Institute of Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, etc. In their capstone design course, students in one class are divided into several groups. The size of each group is usually up to 5 students, and 2-4 students in general. In this kind of capstone design courses, which are in project-based, design driven and student-centered pattern, students have access to gain a number of abilities, i.e. teamwork, design communication, project management, etc. However, this kind of capstone design contributes less to help students to gain deep knowledge both in how to do research and write a thesis.
To overcome the aforementioned drawbacks of different capstone design patterns, the reform of capstone design course was conducted at School of Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This reform focuses on cultivating engineering students with paying attention to both individual and team abilities. This paper presents the methodology of redesign of capstone design (abbreviated as RCD) course in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the results of a three years’ practice of the capstone design course are also analyzed.
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