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A New Paradigm To Improve Computer Education For Engineering Students: Applying Industry Based Software Development Cycle Into Programming Practices

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Computer Engineering Technology Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.81.1 - 12.81.13



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Paper Authors


Wangping Sun Oregon Institute of Technology

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Dr. Wangping Sun is an assistant professor at Oregon Institute of Technology. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a master's degree in software engineering, and a PhD degree in industrial engineering. He has ten years of work experience in industry and four years of work experience in information technology. He is a member of SME, IIE, and ASEE.

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

A New Paradigm to Improve Computer Education for Engineering Students: Applying Industry-based Software Development Cycle into Programming Practices Abstract

Computer Programming for Engineers (or Introductory Computer Education for Engineering Students) is a fundamental engineering course in many universities. However, in the public domain, there has not been enough research on how to improve programming practices (programming labs and homework assignments) of the students. What paradigm should be followed when the students are programming? How is this paradigm helpful for students’ learning? These questions are yet to be answered. In this paper, the author will introduce a new approach to administer programming practices of the students. The benefits and implementation steps of this new paradigm will also be discussed.

Keywords: Computer Education; Computer Programming; Engineering Education; Professional Development; Software Development Cycle.

1. Introduction

Computer programming is an essential and integral part of any engineering program 1. Engineering students must be able to use a variety of rapidly changing computing systems and tools to solve an ever-expanding range of problems across disciplines 2. Engineering schools offer the computer programming course in freshmen or semaphore year in engineering or engineering technology program 3,4.

In our institute, Computer Programming for Engineers (ENGR 266) is an introductory computer programming course for non-computer-science sophomore engineering students. In this course, the students meet three times weekly (two one-hour lectures, and one three-hour lab) to learn essential computer programming skills by using MatLab 7.0 and Visual Basic Application (VBA) in Excel. Engineering problems in manufacturing, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, dynamics, statics, physics, and math are given to the students as programming practices (programming labs and homework assignments). The textbooks being used are:

• MATLAB: An Introduction with Applications, 2nd Edition, by Amos Gilat • Excel Programming: Your visual blueprint for creating interactive spreadsheets, 2nd Edition, by Jinjer Simon.

When the author of this paper taught the course for the first time, all the programming practices were individual-based. The students were given some computational questions and required to finish the coding individually within certain amount of time. However, this “conventional” approach, which is still widely used by a lot of other engineering schools, created many

Sun, W. (2007, June), A New Paradigm To Improve Computer Education For Engineering Students: Applying Industry Based Software Development Cycle Into Programming Practices Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1545

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