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A Multidisciplinary Engineering Computation Module For Introductory Courses In Engineering Technology

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.62.1 - 10.62.9



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Paper Authors

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John Blake

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Multidisciplinary Engineering Computation Module for Introductory Courses in Engineering Technology

John W. Blake Austin Peay State University

Abstract Topics selected for introductory courses in engineering technology and in engineering should help students decide if they want to pursue the degree and, if so, to prepare them for work in their later courses and in their careers. The topics should be applicable in different areas of technology. The author has found that a module on computations using rates and capacities meets these criteria and is a useful addition to a first year course. This paper discusses this module and describes the author’s experiences in teaching with this material.

Introduction Introductory courses in engineering technology and engineering often include basic engineering computation work along with other topics. This is reflected in textbooks designed for these courses.1,2,3,4 This is traditional engineering calculation work, and requires only paper, a pencil or pen, and simple calculator. The material does not require students to use computers or even the advanced features of a graphing calculator. The computation work must be at a mathematical level appropriate for new students. It should reflect practical problems and should give students a sense of the application of mathematical tools in technological problem solving. Since these courses are designed to serve students from different areas of technology, the course material should be applicable to all disciplines. The computational work should have utility in class design projects, in later coursework, and in the student’s career.

In engineering computations, there are many applications of numerical information in the general forms of rates and capacities. Examples include flow rates in pumping and in ductwork, electrical system charging rates, and production rates for manufacturing or chemical plants, while examples of capacities or densities include values such as the heating value of a fuel. These numbers appear in practical problems, and homework problems can be designed to mimic design problems. Practical applications of rate and capacity information can be found in all engineering disciplines.

The use of this sort of information can be generalized. Through the generalized form, a technique useful across engineering disciplines can be taught to students. One must understand the meaning of the value, relate this to a mathematical expression, and solve for the desired unknown. This understanding may come from intuition, a formal definition, or from examination of the units. With experience, using this type of information becomes a straightforward task. Often, it is not straightforward for new students. Exposing student to this sort of problem helps to prepare them for other courses, projects, and for employment.

For several years, the author has included an engineering computation module based on rates and capacities in an introductory course for engineering technology students. The topic is

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Blake, J. (2005, June), A Multidisciplinary Engineering Computation Module For Introductory Courses In Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14517

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015