RF Cafe visitor Michael
Maassel, an electrical engineering professor in North Dakota State University's
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department,
requested that I post these few questions to help him effectively prepare students
taking senior-level (aka "Capstone") design courses for a real-world experience
Says the good professor, "The biggest headache I have is getting the students
to document their work, both in hardware and in software. Currently, I am requiring
that the students use a quad line notebook. This has not been very successful."
How do you handle documentation in your every-day work?
What is(are) the method(s) used by engineers in the workplace for documentation?
Many options are available these days including quadrille and regular lined
paper notebooks, computer software, tablet apps, and smart phone apps. Specific
examples of product names and manufacturers would be helpful.
How is software typically documented in a professional environment?
I usually tell my students to include documentation directly in their code.
What is the best way to document it in a lab notebooks, or is paper documentation
not used anymore? In the past (with very limited success) I have them put a
flowchart in the lab notebook and then reference this flowchart to the code.
What ways do engineers handle documentation when working remotely?
For example, one engineer is in the United States and the other engineer
is in the United Kingdom. How is information moved between the two engineers
(or the two sites)?
With the pandemic situation, a lot of the senior design students are working
remotely, physically separated from their advisors and from the rest of their
If you have suggestions or question, please send Michael an email at
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota 58102
Posted January 12, 2021