Joint Capstone projects for double degree Engineering & Business students: A potential for authentic learning through industry engagement

This is an opportunity for industry to partner with final year double degree students to solve engineering problems whilst considering the business implications. For example, designing a new device or component whilst undertaking an opportunity evaluation.

Kourosh Dini
Swinburne University of Technology

Elizabeth Levin
Swinburne University of Technology

Yvonne Durandet
Swinburne University of Technology

Background and objectives of the case
Since 2015, we have been offering joint Capstone projects to final year double degree students completing both Engineering and Business degrees. Final year students may be completing Engineering specialisations such as Mechanical, Civil, Robotics & Mechatronics, and Electrical and Electronics. There is also a broad range of Business specialisations covered including Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Finance, and Management. Students undertake a yearlong research project with two supervisors, one from Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology (FSET) and one from the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL). A few of these projects have been done in collaboration with industry partners.

Through academic staff, students, and Professional Placements (a department within our university), we have been able to reach out to companies in different industries to offer projects in the Capstone units. Companies have gained benefits and fresh insights from the work have done by the fresh future Engineering and Business graduates together with academic supervisors.

The primary objectives of the working with industry on the joint Capstone projects are to help students to synthesis and apply their Engineering and Business knowledge and skills to a substantial problem.

The inclusion of industry partners broadens the objectives and provides students with opportunities to:
• Participate in an authentic learning experience
• Develop an understanding of the practical issues faced by industries, and
• Present multifaceted, feasible and practical solutions.

However such partnerships offer benefits to all stakeholders.