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A Virtual Company-based Integrated Learning Methodology to Produce Industry-ready Graduates

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Practical Teaching in Manufacturing - 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.133.1 - 26.133.13



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Paper Authors


Samuel H. Huang University of Cincinnati

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Samuel H. Huang is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the University of Cincinnati. He was previously Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Toledo (1998 – 2001) and Systems Engineer at EDS/Unigraphics (1996 – 1997, now Siemens PLM Software). He received the B.S. degree in Instrument Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, P. R. China, in 1991 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, in 1992 and 1995, respectively.
Dr. Huang’s research focuses on big data analytics, supplier-based manufacturing, and complex system analysis and optimization, with applications in health care and manufacturing. He has published over 140 highly influential technical papers (including books and book chapters) that are frequently cited by other researchers. He serves on the advisory board of International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, the editorial board of International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Applied Computational Intelligence and Soft Computing, and Recent Patents on Computer Science. He also serves as honorary professor and visiting professor for a number of institutions including Xiamen University, Dalian University of Technology, and Zhejiang University of Technology.
Dr. Huang received the Robert A. Dougherty Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 2005. In addition to many industrial projects (supported by federal agencies including US Army Benet Laboratories and NASA, state agencies including Ohio Department of Development and Ohio Aerospace Institute, and companies including Procter & Gamble, DaimlerChrysler, and Pilkington North America), he has been awarded five grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research in health care and manufacturing research and education.
Dr. Huang is also an excellent engineering educator. He was named Professor of the Quarter (Spring 2002) by the Engineering Tribunal at the University of Cincinnati. He consistently received very favorable teaching evaluation by both undergraduate and graduate students (professor rating of 4.4 out of 5). He has graduated 10 Ph.D. and 35 M.S. students. He is currently leading an engineering education reform program, Seamless Transition from Academy to Real-world (STAR), which is a concrete implementation of the problem-based learning pedagogy in a well-designed learning environment that aims to unify engineering education with industrial reality.

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Sam Anand University of Cincinnati

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Sam Anand is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and also serves as the Director of Additive Manufacturing Center and Director of Center for Global Design and Manufacturing at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Anand’s areas of research expertise are CAD/CAM, Product Lifecycle Management, Inspection & Computational Metrology, Virtual Modeling, Simulation and Optimization of Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing Processes. His recent research focus is on optimizing energy consumption and predicting and correcting part errors in Additive Manufacturing. At UC, he also serves as the Director for Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE). Dr. Anand has published over 80 technical papers, written book chapters and made several invited and conference presentations in his areas of research. He has also successfully obtained funded grants and contracts from various industries, federal and state government agencies. At UC, Dr. Anand has graduated over 50 MS and 8 PhD students in the areas of Design and Manufacturing. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Manufacturing Processes, CAD for Manufacturing, Precisions Engineering and Computational Metrology. He has previously served as Associate Editor of Journal of Manufacturing Systems and Scientific Committee member of the North American Manufacturing Research Institute (NAMRI) of SME. He is senior member of SME and a member of ASME.

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Manish Kumar University of Toledo

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Manish Kumar received his Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India in 1998, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University, NC, USA in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After finishing his Ph.D., he worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University from 2004 to 2005. In 2005, he received the Research Associateship Award from National Research Council (NRC). This award allowed him to work as a postdoctoral Research Associate with the Army Research Office, NC, USA from 2005 to 2007. As a part of his NRC Associateship program, he was a visiting scholar at General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception (GRASP) laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA. Subsequently, he worked as an Assistant Professor in the School of Dynamic Systems at the University of Cincinnati, OH, USA where he directed the Cooperative Distributed Systems (CDS) Laboratory and co-directed the Center for Robotics Research. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering in the University of Toledo, OH, USA. His current research interests include Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, robotics, decision-making and control in complex systems, multi-sensor data fusion, swarm systems, and multiple robot coordination and control. He is a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Co-chair of the Robotics Technical Committee of the ASME’s Dynamic Systems and Control Division.

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Imelda Castañeda-Emenaker University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Imelda Castañeda-Emenaker, MBA, Ed.D, has a Master in Business Administration and a Doctorate in Educational Foundations. She has had primary responsibility for the design and implementation of numerous state and federally funded program evaluations addressing educational issues for pre-K through graduate studies. Dr. Castañeda-Emenaker brings in more than 15 years of program and policy evaluation experience and a strong background in educational research and evaluation methods. She has been key evaluation personnel on projects focused on curriculum development and assessments, planning and implementing professional development that involved both traditional and innovative methods, STEM-related projects, college access, and various other community projects. Dr. Castañeda-Emenaker is the program evaluator of the NSF-funded College of Engineering and Applied Science Seamless Transition from Academic to the Real-world (CEAS STAR) Project, which implemented a Virtual Company-based Integrated Learning Methodology to Produce Industry Ready Graduate.

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A Virtual Company-based Integrated Learning Methodology to Produce Industry Ready GraduateTo maintain competitive advantages in today’s global market, companies are challenging highereducation institutions to produce industry ready graduates. To meet this challenge, wedeveloped the EXPLORES (Experiential and Problem-based Learning within Opportunities forReal-world Engineering Settings) model based on the problem-based learning (PBL) pedagogy,where students in Mechanical Engineering are exposed to real-world industrial problems thatwill have a direct bearing on fundamental engineering concepts taught in core mechanicalengineering courses. The model is implemented in a learner-centered, knowledge-centered,assessment-centered, and community-centered student learning environment. Specifically, real-world industrial problems are identified that can be broken down into sub-problems and mappedto a selected set of key concepts taught in clusters of core courses in the Mechanical Engineeringcurriculum. These case problems are presented under a virtual company framework. Studentspost their work in the virtual company repository during different stages of the learning process.Their solutions and procedures are then viewed by the instructor, industry partners, and otherstudents who provide periodical feedback. Industry experts then meet with students to discussthe pros and cons of the solutions from a real-world perspective. The expected benefit of thiseducation methodology is that by unifying engineering education with industrial reality,undergraduates will be better educated in applying theory to real-world problems; thus allowingevery stakeholder to maximize their return on investment in the education process. In addition,corporations will have better qualified applicants for their job openings, and faculty will havebetter awareness of the needs of corporate America, thus building an infrastructure ofpartnerships and networks for both education and research.Four (4) industrial case studies have been developed and implemented in the ManufacturingProcesses course. The outcome was evaluated by the University of Cincinnati’s EvaluationServices Center (UCESC) through a cohort study. The evaluation produced some interestingfindings that are important to guide the implementation of the EXPLORES model. Specifically,peer learning for the experimental group (EXPLORES) has improved compared to the controlgroup (traditional). However, the experimental group’s learning strategy has somewhatdeteriorated (although not statistically significant) with respect to self-regulation, effectregulation, and study management. The likely cause is that the case studies are too complicated(the students are Sophomores). The evaluators also commented that the implementation of theEXPLORES model did not strictly follow the model design. The EXPLORES classroomobservations indicated almost the same instructional mode as the traditional class except for thepresence of the industry partners presenting the manufacturing case studies and the inclusion ofthe case studies as part of the course work. As such, no significant differences in any otheraspects of motivation and learning strategies of these students were detected. The results havebeen used to guide the implementation of the EXPLORES model in Engineering Statistics,which is undergoing the same evaluation process in the 2014-1015 academic year. Self & Peer-to-peer AssessmentIndustry Diagnostic Expert StudentsExperts Teaching Solution Work-in-progress & final solution Course 1 Course 2 Course n Instructor Key Concepts Formative Assessment Local Real-world Problems Project RepositoryIndustry Virtual CompanyWeb Page Snapshot & Structure

Huang, S. H., & Anand, S., & Kumar, M., & Castañeda-Emenaker, I. (2015, June), A Virtual Company-based Integrated Learning Methodology to Produce Industry-ready Graduates Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23474

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