Official Baja SAE Forums Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > General > Lounge
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Class credit conundrum
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Class credit conundrum

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
jollirodger View Drop Down
Bolt Sorter
Bolt Sorter
Avatar

Joined: Sep/14/2010
Location: greensboro
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jollirodger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Class credit conundrum
    Posted: Mar/19/2011 at 4:06am
At our school we receive senior credit for participating in baja SAE.  I have been in the shop for 2.5 years, so it was a club for me until this year.  The guys that also did it as underclassmen are devoted to the project as much as my self and as close to brothers as my own blood.

The problem lays with seniors that choose to do the project and have never been at the shop.  They generally know nothing about cars and could care less about the outcome of the season.  Its quite flustering, read infuriating, to try and deal with this and focus on meeting deadlines.

Any other schools that have this situation, and have some advice on ways to cope would be great.
Back to Top
paasch View Drop Down
Welding Master
Welding Master


Joined: Feb/17/2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Status: Offline
Points: 234
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paasch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/19/2011 at 11:55am
At OSU, we typically have 7-10 seniors doing their capstone project on Baja.  Most years, 2-3 of them have had some experience on the team as underclassmen, often just the previous year, occasionally the "star" that has been on the team since Freshman year.  

This year we have 7 seniors doing capstone project on Baja, none of them have been active on Baja before this year.  It's probably too late now, but expectations need to be clear at the beginning of the project.  My first lecture in September I make those expectations as clear as I can: design work done by end of fall term, car built by the end of winter term.  For OSU MIME seniors, their grade depends on the state of the car at the end of winter term (yesterday!).  Is your senior project a paper design only, or is manufacturing and testing the design an explicit part as well?  As a design professor, paper design by themselves are nearly worthless as educational tools.  Most of the educational benefit comes in manufacturing, and the best way to evaluate the design is to test a physical prototype.

It is also really important that the people with experience work to get the new people up to speed technically, and make them part of the team socially.  This holds for both the new seniors and new underclassmen.

So my suggestion is to talk to the faculty in charge of these student's senior project grade and work to get manufacturing and testing as part of the project.  For this situation this year, I think the best you can do is to try to include these seniors socially as part of your Baja club, and take what you can get technically.

I'd be happy to talk to your faculty advisor about integrating SAE CDS into the ME curriculum.



Edited by paasch - Mar/19/2011 at 11:58am
Bob Paasch
Faculty Advisor
Oregon State SAE
Back to Top
blue2kss View Drop Down
Welding Master
Welding Master
Avatar

Joined: Dec/23/2008
Location: USF
Status: Offline
Points: 169
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blue2kss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/19/2011 at 3:33pm
At USF this topic was brought up many times.  We never received any credit being on the team or working on the cars.  Every once in a while when we needed a "side project" (dyno, impact attenuator test rig, etc) made then we would do that for a machine design project for example.  But I was always against receiving course credit for participating on the team for the reasons that the OP stated.  Add in the fact that with course credit would have come much more oversight from faculty and the politics that would come with it I always put that thought to rest for the team mates when they started to gripe about it. 

We had absolutely NO faculty involvement at USF (our advisor hadn't been to the shop in 2 years) and I personally preferred it that way.  We got our own money, ran ourselves, competed on our own, etc. and operated completely under the radar at school when I was there.  Sometimes it sucked and I wished we had a faculty advisor who actually cared but it was the way it was and we actually liked it quite a bit.  As long as we brought back "big" trophy's our advisor was happy and didn't cause any headaches.  We ran a tight ship due to the fact that running a team like this is a huge liability and add in how USF travels with the bus its a knife edge of gray area and responsibility.

With schools like OSU and Auburn with Dr. Paash and Dr. Jones at the helm the teams have flourished.  Their advisers actually care and understand the competitions and push the students.  When it comes down to it though,  I would rather have no advisor than a half-assed one.  


Edited by blue2kss - Mar/19/2011 at 3:35pm
Dustin Bride
University of South Florida SAE Alumni/Consultant
Mechanical Engineer - Naval Surface Warfare Center, Marine Corps. Counter IED Development
Back to Top
asims View Drop Down
Welding Master
Welding Master
Avatar

Joined: Apr/07/2009
Location: Tucson
Status: Offline
Points: 184
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote asims Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/19/2011 at 5:08pm
We usually have just one subsystem of the car done as a capstone project (suspension, transmission, etc).  The way the capstone projects are determined here, project sponsors (normally companies, but in our case, the club), are allowed to make "preselects" for the project.  Normally, assignment of students to projects is based on preference votes from students, so you end up with a somewhat random selection of people.  The preselect process normally allows only about 2-3 per project, but we negotiated with the faculty in charge of capstone this year and managed to get 6 out of 7 members to be long-standing club members.  This has helped things immensely.

Last year, we had 3 preselects and 3 randoms.  Well guess what?  The randoms were utterly useless and the preselects did literally all the work, except for a couple random things here and there.  This is one reason we pushed so hard to get preselects on the project this year.

The year before that, we had an even mix of preselects and randoms, but we got lucky that some of the randoms were actually quite interested and skilled, so that project worked out alright.

Basically, my advice would be to negotiate with faculty, and stress to them how critically important it is that anyone doing technical design work for the club be 110% dedicated, and have minimum 1 year experience on the club.  Let the faculty know that taking the average student who just sees senior design as one last hurdle, instead of the culmination of the project they've been working on for years, will not fit with the team's goals.

Also, if you don't already, focus senior design on one very specific subsystem, and don't let any randoms wander beyond that part of the car.  Last ditch, you could petition to have Baja removed from the activities eligible for senior credit (at least until a more favorable agreement can be reached), but if you're not careful, this could end up hurting more than it helps.


Edited by asims - Mar/19/2011 at 5:10pm
Andrew Sims
University of Arizona
Back to Top
jollirodger View Drop Down
Bolt Sorter
Bolt Sorter
Avatar

Joined: Sep/14/2010
Location: greensboro
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jollirodger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/19/2011 at 6:46pm
Originally posted by paasch paasch wrote:


(1)....expectations need to be clear at the beginning of the project.  My first lecture in September I make those expectations as clear as I can: design work done by end of fall term, car built by the end of winter term......
(2) It is also really important that the people with experience work to get the new people up to speed technically, and make them part of the team socially.  This holds for both the new seniors and new underclassmen.
(3)For this situation this year, I think the best you can do is to try to include these seniors socially as part of your Baja club, and take what you can get technically.



(1) The expectations were clearly set forth at the beginning of the year.  It sounds as if we had the same lecture that you gave. 
(2) To try and get our newbies up to speed we prepared all of our old cars and went to midnight mayhem.  Which got people excited for about 2 weeks after that and then drop outs began again.
(3)  In order to include them socially our social circles would have to be the same place, the shop. 
 
Our project involves all aspects; paper design to fabrication and all the report inbetween.

We cannot be expected to baby sit, hold hands, and drag people into the shop and work.  This has probably been the biggest disconnect between the two groups this year.  When you dont come to the shop for a week don't be pissed at me when i dont have time to fill you in on the 100 things you've missed while absent.

@USF

Our advisor did FSAE, we don’t hold it against him, while in school and he cares a great deal and has gone to bat for us on numerous occasions.  It’s a catch-22, in order to make BSAE strong at our school it needs to be a club only, but to keep it at our school it can’t be strictly a club.



Edited by jollirodger - Mar/19/2011 at 7:39pm
Back to Top
OffRoadIllini View Drop Down
Bolt Sorter
Bolt Sorter
Avatar

Joined: Mar/29/2010
Location: Champaign, IL
Status: Offline
Points: 21
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote OffRoadIllini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/21/2011 at 7:36pm
I suppose U of I has managed to get a little big of a different setup for senior design that does work (most of the time).  As with our FSAE and Formula Hybrid teams, you can get credit as an underclassman, and that is encouraged, more so for our rather large Formula team.  Some key points about our senior design credit:
  • Senior design is given senior year as a Technical Elective in the fall semester and Senior Design in the spring semester.  Both courses must be taken in order to receive senior design credit.
  • Senior design credit is only given to students who have participated on the team and generally have taken the club for credit in the past.  This means that the students who are getting senior design credit are actually interested in the project and are aware of the time commitments.
  • The senior design students are hand selected by the previous year's team captain.
  • There are typically 1-2 students who get senior design credit each year.  There is no limit on the number of students, but this has typically been the number of interested/capable seniors.
  • This setup relies heavily on the training of underclassmen and keeping younger students committed to the team, especially with a hands-off advisor.
  • Senior design and course credit is based on peer reviews as well as deliverables (presentations, written reports, and the finished product).
When this setup is a problem:
  • When students are of a major (Aerospace) that requires a year-long senior design course.
  • When there are no seniors who have been on the team previously in a particular year.  (A rare problem.)
  • Since there are usually only 1-2 students receiving senior design, these students tend to put in an insane amount of time and effort.
As there is one faculty advisor between Baja, FSAE, and Eco-Marathon team, he is generally is not involved in actually advising us, and serves purely as a means of communication between the clubs and the university and signs off on our credit.  If we did have a real problem, he would be there to help us, but we prefer having full control of the design and managing the club.

The system we have right now works, and I marvel at the students who take on the project for only one year, and are able to get a car finished (@USC and others).

Kat Svoboda
Baja Team Captain
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Off-Road Illini
UIUC Baja SAE
Back to Top
RonGeorge View Drop Down
Welding Master
Welding Master


Joined: Apr/17/2010
Location: Indiana
Status: Offline
Points: 286
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RonGeorge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/22/2011 at 8:42am
@Jollirodger,

Thank your lucky stars that you guys do have some kind of course structure in place. We have been constantly suggesting this to our school and the reception from faculty has been quite warm, however there has been little interest whatsoever from students. We had just 6 or 7 students signing up for Baja in Fall 2010 and the course didn't fly as it didn't meet the minimum number required. Given this lack of operating incentive for students, combined with the fact that community school students work long hours along with doing school, its been a heck of a challenge for some past captains and I in running our schedule of operations, communicating with members etc. Yet, one thing we're blessed with is the fact that most of my team members have some excellent shop skills and whenever we can get everyone under the same roof, we get some serious work done. For instance, we have an 18 year talent on the team who runs some big multi-axis machining tools cutting aerospace grade graphite at a local company. He also advices the sometimes "clueless" engineers on tolerances to be specified in drawings. LOL 
-Ron George
Systems Engineer (Cummins Turbo)
Back to Top
p.lewis View Drop Down
Welding Master
Welding Master
Avatar

Joined: Oct/05/2009
Location: Greater Detroit
Status: Offline
Points: 296
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p.lewis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/23/2011 at 8:44am
The problem I see with class credit for Baja is that if a student gets 4 credit hours for Baja, he or she may only do 4 credit hours of work for the project. I think it is harder for the student to decide that the grade/credit for their part of the project isn't as important as getting the whole car done and doing well at competition.
 
Don't get me wrong, I think people deserve recognition for their work on Baja, but I don't think significant school credit is necessary. On the other hand, if you're a student in a Baja club that needs a project for a class, by all means try to do something that can be used for Baja. Double dipping like this helps you to manage your time at school, which every serious Baja participant knows is an issue. So I think you can get some credit for Baja, but you shouldn't necessarily have a Baja class.
 
I know people will think my perspective is unfair, but consider this... every student in Mechanical Engineering that graduates this year will have studied the same ABET required subjects. That goes for Baja club members and non-members. When all these graduates go to get a job, interviewers will not ask many questions about the tests you took or the homeworks you completed... they're going to ask about what you DID in college. Students who participate in Baja DID a lot more than their fellow students, and they get "credit" for their work by commanding higher salaries, getting better jobs, and performing better in the working world. That is worth much more than a couple course credits. I don't really care if people get course credit for Baja or not because I don't think a grade in Baja means anything.
Back to Top
collinskl1 View Drop Down
Baja Godfather
Baja Godfather
Avatar

Joined: Jan/21/2009
Location: Saginaw, MI
Status: Offline
Points: 1056
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/23/2011 at 9:38am
Originally posted by p.lewis p.lewis wrote:

The problem I see with class credit for Baja is that if a student gets 4 credit hours for Baja, he or she may only do 4 credit hours of work for the project. I think it is harder for the student to decide that the grade/credit for their part of the project isn't as important as getting the whole car done and doing well at competition.
 
Don't get me wrong, I think people deserve recognition for their work on Baja, but I don't think significant school credit is necessary. On the other hand, if you're a student in a Baja club that needs a project for a class, by all means try to do something that can be used for Baja. Double dipping like this helps you to manage your time at school, which every serious Baja participant knows is an issue. So I think you can get some credit for Baja, but you shouldn't necessarily have a Baja class.
 
I know people will think my perspective is unfair, but consider this... every student in Mechanical Engineering that graduates this year will have studied the same ABET required subjects. That goes for Baja club members and non-members. When all these graduates go to get a job, interviewers will not ask many questions about the tests you took or the homeworks you completed... they're going to ask about what you DID in college. Students who participate in Baja DID a lot more than their fellow students, and they get "credit" for their work by commanding higher salaries, getting better jobs, and performing better in the working world. That is worth much more than a couple course credits. I don't really care if people get course credit for Baja or not because I don't think a grade in Baja means anything.
 
 
Bingo.  My school did not give course credit for baja, and I'm glad!  It was hard to find dedicated people to work on the project without having a bunch of people sign up for the "class" to do the minimum work to get a grade.  I was able to milk baja for a few projects here and there, a data acquisition independent study, and a sr. design project, so I was double dipping all over the place but I think that is better suited in the "reverse" manner that I used it rather than how a student would do baja for class credit. 
Kyle Collins
Lipscomb University Alumni
2x Project Manager

Nexteer Automotive
Product Engineer, Electronic Power Steering

... and the 8th simple machine: a bigger hammer.
Back to Top
p.lewis View Drop Down
Welding Master
Welding Master
Avatar

Joined: Oct/05/2009
Location: Greater Detroit
Status: Offline
Points: 296
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p.lewis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/23/2011 at 11:33am

In the interest of full disclosure, I should add that my school offers 2 credits per semester for Baja as a technical elective/ independant study. Students have to do design work and write a report on their project. The school only lets you take this "class" a couple times, and only with the approval of the advisor... generally you can't take it unless you've been on the team for a while and you have a significant project to do.

In practice, the reports were going to be used for the competition design report anyway, so it's just the department's way of throwing you a bone for your design work.  Also it helps to offset whatever GPA hit you might have taken to divert your precious study time away from classes to work on Baja. The intention is not to offer a senior design class... it is only to give credit for extracurricular engineering work.
 
I think it is possible to do an independant study at every university, so if you want credit and your school doesn't offer a Baja class, talk to your department chair or advisor and propose a project.
 
I never took Baja for credit because I thought it was a distraction.
Back to Top
CLReedy21 View Drop Down
Baja Godfather
Baja Godfather
Avatar

Joined: Nov/30/2008
Location: Marysville, OH
Status: Offline
Points: 736
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CLReedy21 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/23/2011 at 12:44pm
None of our team members get class credit outside of the occasional 4990 Special topics report.  Every now and then we'll have a Sr D group that does a baja project.  The group is invariable made up of a couple three baja folks and a 3-4 non members.  Our gearbox in 2010 was a prime example of how non team member can screw stuff up.  One of the group members was responsible for the gear sizing and treatment and managed to get that wrong by a factor of ~2.5 resulting in our endurance fail at SC.  I'm not saying it couldn't have happened with a team member doing the calcs, but the error came back to a simple math mistake in the matlab code that should have been caught with a little care and attention.
-Chris Reedy
TTU Alumni
Fourwheeler Drawer



"Quick with the hammer, slow with the brain."
Back to Top
collinskl1 View Drop Down
Baja Godfather
Baja Godfather
Avatar

Joined: Jan/21/2009
Location: Saginaw, MI
Status: Offline
Points: 1056
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/23/2011 at 2:30pm
In reference to the situation Chris describes, while I was on the team at Lipscomb, I was VERY against any projects (done by a baja team member or a "civilian" student) that would affect the car for that year.  My reasoning behind this was that there may come a point where the grade or completion of the project/assignment would put the car's performance in jeopardy. 
 
This sorta happened with my senior capstone project last year.  A team of 3 designed an IRS system for use on our car.  Due to project constraints placed on us we were able to design such a system, but not one that I would endorse actually building onto a competing car.  We had to make serious compromises to complete the assignment to constraints we were given, and I made it clear that fielding such a vehicle would be a mistake for the team.  (not to mention that the team building and racing the car wouldn't have done any of the design work...)
Kyle Collins
Lipscomb University Alumni
2x Project Manager

Nexteer Automotive
Product Engineer, Electronic Power Steering

... and the 8th simple machine: a bigger hammer.
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.046 seconds.