Valuing and engaging stakeholders: The effects of engineering students’ interactions during capstone design
The goal of this study was to determine how student perceptions of stakeholders differed before and after their capstone experience, and to determine if and how the students’ interactions with stakeholders during the semester changed their perceptions.
In this work, I studied 23 students participating in seven capstone design teams in Mechanical Engineering. Data collection consisted of pre- and post-course surveys and interviews with the design teams throughout the course. Nvivo 10 and an iterative inductive coding approach was used to assess student perceptions of stakeholders in the pre- and post-course surveys.
Two distinct patterns of stakeholder interaction and change in perception emerged from the data collected. In the first, expectations of how stakeholders should be involved in the design process were not met during their capstone design work and their perception of stakeholder interaction in design did not change after the course (left side of figure below). In the second, expectations of how stakeholders should be involved in the design process were met or exceeded during their capstone design work and their perceptions of the level of stakeholder interaction necessary in design increased after the course.