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A Supplemental Resource For Teaching Engineering Economy

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Engineering Economy Classroom Tips

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.119.1 - 7.119.8



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Hartman

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

Main Menu Session 1339

A Supplemental Resource for Teaching Engineering Economy

Joseph C. Hartman Lehigh University


We report on the use of The Wall Street Journal as a supplemental source of information for teaching Engineering Economy at the undergraduate level. While the Journal is often associated with reporting information concerning financial markets, it also provides a plethora of information on engineering firms, or firms that engage in engineering activities, and their capital investment decisions. Articles that focus on these decisions (e.g. plant openings and closings, equipment replacement, and product design and development) can be used as examples to enhance classroom teaching. We illustrate ways in which articles can be used in the classroom and provide student feedback from implementation in the Spring of 2001. These include the use of an open-ended exam that was motivated by an article. Conclusions from use of the open-exam format are also provided.


This author has promoted the teaching of Engineering Economy in a decision-making context in hopes that students learn the necessary steps to make decisions about capital investments for engineering problems4. While teaching in this framework may help students understand the decision-making process, concrete engineering examples are required such that the students can appreciate its application.

Schmahl et al. 5 recently published a study in which they examined end-of-chapter problems of three leading textbooks for undergraduate Engineering Economy. The results showed that unless authors “make an effort to increase emphasis on engineering applications through problem selection, students completing engineering economy courses will still lack the skills they need to apply economic principles to many engineering decisions.”

To partially address this issue, we report on an idea that is commonplace in many business and/or finance curriculums in higher education: using The Wall Street Journal to enhance teaching a course. This is not to say that we advocate utilizing the Journal in the same way that a business or finance course might. Rather, we focus on the reporting of activities by firms that are directly related to Engineering Economy. For example, if a company decides to close a plant (abandonment), select a new vendor for machinery (equipment replacement) or install a new line in a plant (capital investment), relevant information is generally published in The Wall Street Journal. This information allows an instructor to supplement teaching with real-world, engineering examples.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Hartman, J. (2002, June), A Supplemental Resource For Teaching Engineering Economy Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11215

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