Exploring stakeholder mapping as a tool to support student incorporation of stakeholder needs in a senior undergraduate mechanical engineering capstone course
McIntosh, Heather Lee
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This thesis presents a novel method for integrating and assessing stakeholder mapping, a design thinking tool aimed at developing comprehensive understandings of problem contexts, within a capstone setting. This work responds to calls within engineering design education to better prepare engineering graduates for success in industry, where technical skills must be combined with professional capabilities such as communication, teamwork, and problem solving. Although design thinking is often presented as a means to facilitate student design capabilities, little empirical evidence exists linking specific design thinking strategies and positive student outcomes. Stakeholder mapping assignments were designed and integrated into a year-long mechanical engineering capstone course held at Dalhousie University in the 2020-2021 academic year. Specific data collection tools, aimed at measuring capstone client satisfaction, and students’ conceptions of design, were also employed, and interviews with students were completed. Recommendations for future iterations of the study are presented based on preliminary data.