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Advanced Programming In The Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

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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

Computer & Web-Based Instruction

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.136.1 - 10.136.9



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Paper Authors

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Brianno Coller

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

Advanced Programming in the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

B.D. Coller Department of Mechanical Engineering Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois 60115

1. Introduction

We are in the process of developing an advanced computing and programming track within the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum at Northern Illinois University (NIU). We are introducing our mechanical engineering students to concepts such as object oriented programming, data structures, complexity analysis, and elements of software design that are normally taught to computer scientists. Rather than ship our engineering students to the computer science department, we provide an authentic engineering context, designed to engage students, in which to learn the material.

On its surface, the context, looks like a multi-player video game. A screen shot of the game is shown in Figure 1. Deep inside, however, it is a sophisticated automobile simulation that the students must write much of themselves over a sequence of several courses. Here we aim to leverage the tremendous popularity of video games with this generation of students, and direct their enthusiasm toward educational purposes.

Figure 1 Snapshots of NIU-TORCS, the primary software package.

In this paper, we outline the advanced computing track being developed at NIU, providing an outline of the courses and topics we will teach, and describing the hardware and software infrastructure necessary to support the endeavor. First, however, we discuss our motivation for the project.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Coller, B. (2005, June), Advanced Programming In The Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14720

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