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An Evaluation Of An Established Case Study For Engineering Technology Education

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Education in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.184.1 - 11.184.10



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Paper Authors


Radha Balamuralikrishna Northern Illinois University

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RADHA BALAMURALIKRISHNA has an educational background in engineering, industrial education, and business administration. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Illinois. He received the Faculty of the Year award in 2000 sponsored by the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. His primary areas of expertise are computer-aided design and process improvement methodologies.

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Kurt Rosentrater USDA-ARS

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KURT A ROSENTRATER is a Lead Scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, in Brookings, SD, where he is spearheading a new initiative to develop value-added uses for residue streams resulting from biofuel manufacturing operations. He is formerly an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, in the Department of Technology.

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


Introduction Engineering and technology educators focus on meeting existing and future needs of industry when designing the content domain and planning instructional methods in their discipline. However, undergraduate students in engineering and technology rarely have an opportunity to solve real world problems that require integration across several disciplinary branches of engineering and those outside of engineering. This makes it difficult for students to make the transition from academia to industry especially in an era where the principles of concurrent engineering are employed in new product design and development. Therefore, there is a strong need to bring challenging, industry involved problems into our classrooms today.

The case study approach has long been used in business education but only recently made its entry into engineering education but with significant momentum. Nationwide, case studies are becoming very popular educational tools throughout engineering and technology curricula. In fact, during the last ten years, over 1000 papers have been presented at the annual ASEE national conference describing the development and utilization of case studies. When they are designed and implemented correctly, case studies can be a very effective pedagogical technique. A good discussion that makes the case for their use has been provided by Barrott (2001), who promulgates four key advantages, including linking students to the real world, improving critical thinking skills, developing communication skills, and involving students in cooperative learning1. Although case studies can be implemented in the classroom in a variety of ways, and with varying levels of success, several authors have recently discussed appropriate methodologies and strategies for implementing their use 2,3,4. There is, however, a need for a comprehensive review of the use of case studies in the engineering and technology classroom.

Need for Evaluation of Case Studies Developing holistic case studies that possess an active industry component and also challenge students in the many facets of engineering and industrial management is a complex task that has been undertaken by relatively few experts. During the past five to ten years, such case studies have been developed at various institutions with the help of significant funding delivered by agencies such as the National Science Foundation. These exemplary case studies are now available for educators for adaptation and also possible direct use in the classroom. Several of these case studies have both engineering and management problems embedded within the case study. Successful classroom applications of these and other case studies developed by experts have received some attention in recent engineering literature. However, the dissemination of this information at the national level has been rather sparse and there is an urgent need to remedy this situation for the benefit of faculty and students alike.

As the concepts of collaborative engineering and product life cycle analysis become more prevalent in industry, the engineering technologist today has more opportunities to be engaged in new product design and development from the early concept stage5. Studies in engineering education have revealed that current curricula mostly emphasize science and mathematics

Balamuralikrishna, R., & Rosentrater, K. (2006, June), An Evaluation Of An Established Case Study For Engineering Technology Education Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1316

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