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Education Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 578148, 18 pages
Research Article

Design and Implementation of a Capstone Course to Satisfy the Industry Needs of Virtual Product Development and ABET Engineering Criteria

Mechanical Engineering Department, Taibah University, Almadinah Almonawwarah 42353, Saudi Arabia

Received 6 January 2014; Accepted 8 February 2014; Published 25 May 2014

Academic Editor: Gwo-Jen Hwang

Copyright © 2014 Mohamed A. Omar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over the past two decades, computer aided engineering (CAE) processes and procedures became an integral part of the product development cycle. Virtual product development (VPD) refers to procedures that integrate the CAE tools in a unified approach that spans all the product development phases. Current industrial trends utilize VPD tools and procedures to reduce the product development time without jeopardizing the product quality. These trends led to an increasing demand for engineers with computer skills, multidisciplinary engineering knowledge, and acquaintance with VPD tools. ABET program outcomes emphasize providing courses with an accumulated background of curricular components to solve realistic open-ended engineering problems. Capstone design project (CDP) course has been regarded as important learning activity that could be designed to provide senior engineering student an opportunity to solve such problems. A major objective of the CDP course is to simulate industrial setting and allow students to experience real-life engineering practice. This paper presents an implementation of the VPD procedures in a mechanical engineering CDP course. This integration simulates the industrial environment through multidisciplinary teams working together in subsystems to produce one product using standard commercial VPD tools. This course implementation is demonstrated using a case study of teams working to design and build a solar car.