The Impact of Group Size and Project Duration on Capstone Design

Authors

  • Paul M. Griffin,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Industrial and Systems Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Paul M. Griffin is Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. His Ph.D. is in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University. His research and teaching interests are in manufacturing, logistics and economic decision analysis.

  • Susan O. Griffin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Terra Integrated Solutions
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Susan O. Griffin received her Ph.D. in Economics from Emory University. She is currently a Partner at Terra Integrated Solutions, Inc. Her most recent publications are in the areas of health services research and productivity analysis.

  • Donna C. Llewellyn

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning Georgia Institute of Technology
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Donna C. Llewellyn received her BA (major in Mathematics and minor in Economics) with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 1980. She went on to earn an M.S. in Operations Research from Stanford University in 1981 and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University in 1984. Dr. Llewellyn then studied in Bonn, West Germany with a National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship while on leave from a tenure track position in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. From 1994 to 1999, Dr. Llewellyn served as an Associate Chair of ISyE. In July 1999, she became the Director of the Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at Georgia Tech. Dr. Llewellyn's current interests center around education issues in general, and on increasing the participation of women and minorities in engineering and science in particular. She is the past Chair of the Women in Engineering Division of the American Society of Engineering Education, the past President of the Women in OR/MS Forum of INFORMS, and past director-at-large of INFORMS. She was the general chair of the INFORMS 2003 National Conference.


School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, 30332-0205; telephone: 404–894-2431; fax: 404–894-2301; e-mail: pgriffin@isye.gatech.edu.

Terra Integrated Solutions, 23 Wesley St., Newnan, Georgia, 30263; telephone: 770-502-8462; e-mail: susan.griffin@terra-solutions.org.

Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Georgia Institute of Technology, 225 North Ave. Tech Tower, Suite 004–005, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0383; telephone: 404–894- 2340; fax: 404–894-4475; e-mail: donna.llewellyn@cetl.gatech.edu.

Abstract

This paper discusses how group size and project duration impact capstone design in terms of learning objectives for the student, value to industry sponsors, and faculty resources. The analysis is based on survey results and an external faculty evaluation comparing a one-semester offering with a two-semester offering of capstone design in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition, we examine whether the stated learning objectives (technical writing skills, presentation skills, and technical analysis) for the course provide value to sponsors. Our findings suggest that the one-semester offering was preferred by both students and industry sponsors and required fewer resources. We also found that although students prefer smaller group sizes, sponsors do not have a definitive preference. Finally, we found that although technical analysis is significantly correlated with dollar value to the sponsor, technical writing skills and presentation skills were not.

Ancillary