ECSE-4961 ECSE Designspring 2003

ECSE-4961 ECSE Designspring 2003

ECSE-4961 ECSE DesignSpring 2003


Scheduled Meeting Time: T/F 12:00 - 1:50 PM Class Room: JEC 3232


Name: Prof. Syed Murtuza


Office: JEC 6036

Office Hours: T 2:00 – 3:00 PM, R 10:30-11:30 AM, and by appointment

Web address for course material:

Teaching Assistant: ? E-mail : ?

ECSE Office Contact: Ms. Melissa Reardon, 6049 JEC, Ph: 276-6313

Parts Purchasing contact: Ms. Valerie Masterson, JEC 3018, Ph: 276-6626

Course Text:

Engineering Design for Electrical Engineers by Alan D. Wilcox, published by Prentice Hall, 1990 (ISBN 0-13-278136-0)

References (on reserve in library): See attached list

Course Catalog Description: Provides Electrical, and Computer Systems Engineering majors senior design experience by engaging them in client-sponsored projects. The students work in multi-disciplinary teams, jointly responsible to the faculty, the client liaison, and to each other for project management, execution and reporting. Contemporary design tools and practices are emphasized. Oral and written presentations are required. The course is designated as writing intensive. Pre/co requisites: ENGR-4010 and senior standing. Fall and Spring terms (3 credit hours)

ECSE-4961 ECSE DesignSpring 2003



Understanding the process and elements of an electrical and computer systems engineering project design through experience in a multidisciplinary environment.


This primarily self-directed course builds upon the knowledge and skills that the students have gained from other engineering and professional development courses in the curriculum. It provides a culminating experience to practice necessary steps in a multidisciplinary project. In this course the students will:

  • Acquire practicing skills, competencies, and points of view needed for engineering professionals
  • Acquire skill in working with others as a member of a team
  • Learn to analyze and critically evaluate ideas
  • Develop skills in expressing oneself orally and in writing


  • Select a project to work on for the semester
  • Form a team of at least three students (with some exceptions)
  • Maintain a project notebook to record individual activities related to the project, starting with ideas for a team project proposal
  • Write a project proposal as a team
  • Develop a system concept as applicable to the project
  • Perform engineering analysis and experiments to take system concept to system design
  • Execute detail design and build as appropriate
  • Make oral presentation and write mid-term report
  • Make oral presentation and write final report


This course is organized differently from most of the other courses you have taken in your degree program. Instead of mostly lecture and recitation, individual effort quizzes and exams, this course is based on a semester long project. There are no quizzes and exams, and only occasional lectures. Your success in the course is determined by your performance as a member of a team in proposing, executing and reporting on the project. Since not all individuals in a team necessarily perform equally, a portion of your grade is based on individual effort.

Design Projects: You will be given a list of available client-sponsored projects on the first day of class or earlier (web/e-mail). There will be a short presentation on the projects in the class. You will meet your potential teammates from ECSE and other departments. You will be asked to write a short introductory memo about yourself and your preference on the choice of the projects, which you will submit on the second day of class.

Introductory Memo: The memo will be used to help decide your project/team assignment. In the memo, describe your interests and capabilities with reference to the available projects, and your expectations of the capstone design experience. State your first and second choice of the project, along with the reasons for your choice. Attach a copy of your resume. The memo is due on the second day of class.

Team Formation: On the third day of class the project/team assignment will be announced. From this point on, you work as a team. Your first team assignment is to write the project proposal that will be the basis for design for rest of the semester. You have a week and a half to submit the proposal. The proposal is due at the end of third week of the semester.

In Class Activities: The class meets on Mondays and Thursdays from 12 to 2 PM. The instructor will meet with teams during the class time to provide instruction, consultation, and to conduct oral presentations of project status. There will be opportunity to meet with project sponsor mentors. A major portion of this time is reserved for student teams to work on inter and intra team integration issues. The students must come prepared to make proper use of this common meeting time to coordinate the team activities.

Attendance: Attendance in class is required. Tardiness and absence will lower your individual grade in the course, and will impact negatively on the team grade.

Purchasing Procedures: Since you are working on sponsored projects, project costs are paid for from funds provided by the sponsors. It is your responsibility that all parts and services are requested allowing adequate time for order processing and delivery. It is also your responsibility that proper procedures are followed for reimbursement of out of pocket expenses. See the attached documents for instructions and ordering form.

Project Sponsorship: Most (if not all) projects will have a sponsor. The sponsor may be an organization, group, or person that is interested in seeing you be successful with your project. Sponsors provide motivation and relevance to your project, and can make a project much more fun and worthwhile. In some cases the sponsor is providing support in terms of funding, materials, information, and services. In accepting this support you may be requested to sign an intellectual property and confidentiality agreement (see attached MDL Sponsorship Agreement). Your sponsor “mentor” is expected to help the project team. You are encouraged to make appropriate, frequent, and direct contact with your sponsor mentor.

Grading: As stated earlier, the course grade is entirely determined by your performance related to the design project. The table below concisely depicts how your grade is determined by different deliverables.

Due Date and Grading
Item / Due Date / Effort / Points / Percent
Intro Memo / 01/16/03 / Ind / 6 / 1.94
Proposal / 01/30/03 / Team / 25 / 8.06
Mid-term Presentation (Design Revirw) / 02/27/03 / Ind / 20 / 6.45
Team / 12 / 3.87
Mid-term (progress) Report / 03/03/03 / Team / 25 / 8.06
Final Presentation / 04/24/03 / Ind / 25 / 8.06
Team / 18 / 5.81
Final Report (Technical) / 04/28/03 / Team / 65 / 20.97
Final Report (English) / 04/28/03 / Team / 46 / 14.84
Lab Notebook / 04/28/03 / Ind / 40 / 12.90
Teamwork / 04/28/03 / Ind / 28 / 9.03
Subtotal (Individual) / 119 / 38.39
Subtotal (Team) / 191 / 61.61
TOTAL / 310 / 100.00

The teamwork grade is a subjective score that will be awarded at the end of the semester. You will evaluate each of your teammates according the criteria below:

  • Contributed to design, implementation, and debugging of project
  • Participated equally with teammates in design review, written reports, and oral presentation
  • Regularly made contact with instructor
  • Conducted him- or herself in a professional manner
  • Participated in Class Discussions

The guidelines for preparing various other deliverables and related evaluation sheets are given separately.

Crimes and Misdemeanors: You are expected to communicate to the instructor any issue regarding your performance in class ahead of time. This includes absence from important class meetings, late assignments, inability to perform an assigned task, problems with your group members, the need for extra time on assignments, etc. You should be prepared to provide sufficient proof of any circumstances on which you are making a special request as outlined in the Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Students with disabilities should inform the instructor of their needs at the beginning of the semester. Students must register as disabled in order to receive proper attention and benefits. Please contact Debra Hamilton (Assistant Dean of Students, ext. 2746, ). Students who cannot attend some classes due to religious observance should inform the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

Cheating and academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. All your course work should provide an honest effort in solving the assigned problem by yourself and your teammates. You are encouraged to discuss course material and problems with other students, but your team’s solution must be your own. If you are inspired by another work, or if you are extending an existing approach, you should explicitly cite this work. Any student found to have participated in academic dishonesty will receive an “F” in the class, and may be subject to further disciplinary action. The University Code of Academic Integrity prohibits students from committing the following acts of academic dishonesty: academic fraud (e.g. changing solutions to appeal a grade), copying or allowing one’s work to be copied, collaboration (e.g. giving out old project reports for others to reuse), fabrication/falsification, plagiarism, sabotage of others’ work, substitution (e.g. doing a project for someone else). For more details, see

Letter grades will not be assigned until the end of the class, after the final project report has been graded. Any letter grade assignment posted before the end of the class should be regarded as tentative and subject to change. For grade appeals procedures, see

List of handouts given with the syllabus:

  1. A list of reference books on Desk Reserve under ECSE-4961 in Folsom Library
  2. Brief description of Design Projects available for Spring 2003 semester
  3. Procedures Student Purchases – Memo from Valerie Masterson
  4. Capstone Design Purchase Record Form
  5. Guidelines for writing Design Project Proposal
  6. Guidelines for Final Oral Presentation
  7. Guidelines for writing Final Project Report
  8. Guidelines for maintaining Design Lab Notebook for grade
  9. RPI Technical Writing Handout – a PowerPoint document
  10. Grade evaluation sheets for:
  11. Project proposal
  12. Formal oral presentation
  13. Project final report
  14. Teamwork component of grade