Course Organization Notes
The joint ME/MET Capstone project is a two-semester integrated design experience, required for all ME and MET students. The two Capstone 1 classes ETME489 and EMEC489 meet concurrently, as do the two Capstone 2 classes ETME499 and EMEC499. Capstone requires student teams to work on sponsored projects representative of career tasks, and to utilize a variety of skills to plan, design, analyze, fabricate and then test their product while thoroughly documenting the process.
Projects are solicited by the course instructor(s) and are presented to enrolled students at the beginning of Capstone 1: Students review the available projects and request their favorites, and the instructor(s) mindfully place students onto project teams. The projects are typically sponsored by an industrial sponsor, a faculty member, an individual, the department, or in some cases, a professional organization. National competition projects are usually part of the mix. We often team with ECE or other departments to create interdisciplinary student teams.
A sponsorship agreement is used to define sponsor obligations, and specifies that a sponsor representative must be identified to provide continuity between sponsor, students, and the project faculty advisor. Sponsors are asked to be engaged with the project and provide timely feedback, but are also asked to refrain from exerting excessive control over the project - allowing the students to fully engage in the design process. Sponsors are required to pay project expenses such as materials, parts, student travel costs as necessary, etc.
Typical team makeup is three-t0-four students per design team, although groups may have as few as two or as many as nine members depending upon the project scope. Group membership is based on student project-ranking input which is taken into consideration as project assignments are made. Once membership is assigned, the design teams must contact their sponsor in order determine project scope, expectations, deliverables, budget, and other project elements. Teams are are required to arrange a weekly meeting with their assigned faculty advisor.
The MIE Manufacturing lab sets open hours each term to support student fabrication needs. Students must complete a shop safety review class and then obey all shop rules during the use of shop facilities. Student workers are employed to staff the shop during open hours. Procedures, hours, and other shop links can be found on the MIE Shop website.
Students often find other resources including home shops, sponsor facilities, etc. Advisors should discuss the use of these external resources (not under MSU control) with their group members, and emphasize the safety and access challenges inherrent in their use.
Other MSU resources brought to bear in support of projects include software and equipment in university computer labs, materials labs, maker spaces, instrumentation and measurement labs, etc.