Perspectives

A Russ College of Engineering Capstone Class Solves Real World Problems


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The Russ College of Engineering and Technology capstone class, “Designing to Make a Difference,” combines learning objectives for students with their professional skills to solve “real world” problems.

The course is directed by Dr. Greg Kremer, the Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and it is targeted for seniors in his college.

Teams of five students are presented with a real problem by a regional non-profit organization, a local startup, a local for-profit business or an international group seeking an international solution to a pressing engineering issue. Innovative solutions are sought.

The students work with the outside groups to identify their issues and to provide concrete and workable solutions.

“We match the ideas and solutions presented by the students with the needs of the communities we serve,” Dr. Kremer says.

“We try to work with people in the region but we also have some international clients,” Kremer notes.

If someone has an engineering problem that they would like a student design team to address, they can send ideas or problems to Dr. Kremer at kremer@ohio.edu.

He evaluates student work based upon teamwork, communication, global/societal impact, ethics, lifelong learning, contemporary issue solutions and other items.

He matches members of a team together based on cognitive diversity. “You don’t want a team of all the same type of people,” Kremer adds. “We need diversity to solve problems.”

Dr. Kremer says that often the capstone experience not only has positive impacts on the region and the client but it has a lifelong impact on the students involved.

Dr. Kremer joined Ohio University in 1998. He became chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department in 2006.

In 2005-06, he was selected as a Carnegie Scholar. He also has won numerous teaching awards. He currently serves as the Robe Professor in Engineering.