University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

What's New In Capstone Design?

The interdisciplinary capstone design program continues to evolve, with several new initiatives providing students with a real-world design experience. One new feature is a requirement for students to conduct a formal Engineering Release Review with their client, instructors, and fellow students during the second semester. This event signifies the timing for official engineering “release” of the student designs for a final prototype build. The new rubric includes the following deliverables: a) clear value proposition, b) understood product requirements, c) proof of concept, d) final design with models, drawings, and BOM, e) manufacturing and validation plans, f) overall project plan, and g) strategies for risk management. Instead of a traditional 1-5 scoring scale, the rubric uses a Red/Yellow/Green system for each deliverable, ensuring the students strive for readiness (“Green”) to proceed with building their design and enabling review participants to provide tangible go/no-go feedback to the students.

Engineering Release Review Rubric

Value Proposition Missing - No attempt to describe why the project is important; not relatable for the audience. Technical Only - Partial articulation of project impact; not relatable for non-technical audience. Engaging - Clear articulation of larger project impact; relatable to a non- technical audience.
Product Requirements Superficial Formulation - Some relevant factors identified, few measurable. Adequate Formulation - Most relevant factors considered, some measurable. Insightful Formulation - All relevant factors considered, many measurable
Preliminary Proof of Concept Missing - No mention of modeling, testing, or prototyping at any scale. Satisfactory - High- level data without specified purpose or application. Complete - Focused data with relevant interpretations and conclusions.
System Design (Including any Models, Drawings and BOM) Missing - No overall system architecture or knowledge of how subsystems relate to one another; no models or drawings available. Basic - Broad concept of a design with a basic idea of how it satisfies client needs; models, drawings, BOM partially complete. Thorough - Proposed solution(s) directly addresses client needs and specifications; models, drawings, and BOM available.
Manufacturing and Validation Plan Disorganized - Vague idea of components to be purchased and how parts fit together; largely unaware how to fabricate needed parts; unclear path for validation. Developed - Selection of purchased components in progress; materials identified but may not be optimal; validation plan partially complete. Well Planned - Specific vendors and model numbers ready for order; tooling and fixture needs understood; drawings reviewed by shop manager; clear validation plan.
Project Management Wistful - Path to completion unclear; budget uncertain. Appropriate - Credible timeline and budget given. Insightful - Contingencies considered in managing time and budget.
Risk Management Unaware - No acknowledgement of project risks; relies only on a "home-run" solution. Considerate - Acknowledges risks and incorporates potential plans for worst-case scenario. Mitigated - Identifies logical risks and clear paths and fallback plans to address each.

Article by Dr. Matthew Swenson, Mechanical Engineering

Seniors Caleb Smith (left to right) and Preston Stephens present the progression of their advanced multi-rotor drone during the final Snapshot before EXPO 2019.
Seniors Caleb Smith (left to right) and Preston Stephens present the progression of their advanced multi-rotor drone during the final Snapshot before EXPO 2019.

Contact Us

Engineering Physics Building Rm. 324K

Mailing Address:

Mechanical Engineering
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 0902
Moscow, ID 83844-0902

Phone: 208-885-6579

Fax: 208-885-9031