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An Innovative Approach In Teaching Professionals At The Graduate Level

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.84.1 - 3.84.7



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Majdi Najm

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

Session 2555

An Innovative Approach in Teaching Professionals at the Graduate Level

Majdi Najm, PE, DE Adjunct Associate Professor of Engineering Management University of Missouri-Rolla

A problem-based cooperative learning approach is described, focusing on courses taught to U.S. Army officers at Fort Leonard Wood, engineers at Boeing, and students at University of Missouri-Rolla. The utilization of modern tools such as the Web and computer-based instruction and assessment is also highlighted.

Engineering Education

The landscape of engineering is changing under the influence of economical and technological forces. Organizations are forming joint development teams that collaborate for the life of a project and then disperse. Quick response has become a major component of success and could be achieved by having companies join forces together and work in a virtual organization environment. To translate this to engineering education practices means to emulate the fast-track project environment, where teams members have seldom enough time to get acquainted, yet they are expected to operate as a highly effective team and deliver quality products on time and within a tight budget.

Training students to work in such an environment has been the driving force behind designing the structure of the courses described in this paper. An added uniqueness of these courses is the fact that they are taught mostly to professional graduate students at their work site.

The product-based-learning approach used in some of these courses has been praised in many publications (see references 1 to 4). Professor Leifer at Stanford University has described it as follows [5]:

“Direct experience is the learning medium of choice in our domain of higher education and parallels the fact that professional experience is the measure by which most engineers, scientists and other professionals are rated.... . Learning is best done by creating something, a product, that embodies our knowledge. This is product- based-learning”.

A background of the degree program within which these courses are taught will first be provided. Then four courses will be described, focusing on the approach that was used in each of them to make them effective.


Najm, M. (1998, June), An Innovative Approach In Teaching Professionals At The Graduate Level Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7195

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