Emphasis Related Capstone Class: The Use of Real-Life Experience to Enhance Workforce Readiness (Published)
Preparing students for the workforce is one of the most important priorities in the education sector. The needs of industry are constantly changing and educators strive to find the best way to meet these needs. Providing a culminating experience in classroom settings is one strategy that allows students to apply the knowledge that they gained throughout their undergraduate coursework. This paper explains these efforts to develop a high-impact senior capstone course for Engineering Technology related majors. This research aims to explain a proven strategy for teaching this course after its two-year pilot phase. The course was created to address concerns of industry. The creation of an industrial environment in the classroom helps prepare students for the real world of work. This research is based on a course titled “Emphasis Related Capstone” (ERC), which is offered at Bemidji State University. The ERC course centers on product design and development and is used to prepare students for future careers. Steps for designing the capstone course are shared in this paper. Multidisciplinary teams (e.g. electrical manufacturing, design, project management) were formed to achieve deliverable outcomes. Examples of manufacturing projects conducted in the capstone course are also provided and instructors’ responsibilities for teaching capstone courses summarized. In addition, a grading strategy for such capstone courses is provided.