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Applying Tqm In The Le Classroom: The Switch To Active Learning

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.83.1 - 1.83.11



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Paper Authors

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Larry J. Shuman

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Cynthia Atman

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Harvey Wolfe

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


.— - Session 3557 . .......


Larry J, Shuman, Cynthia J. Atman, and Harvey Wolfe Department of Industrial Engineering University of Pittsburgh

ABSTRACT In applying total quality management to the university environment, we have focused on one particular l aspect of the educational process - how we teach and how students learn. Drawing upon the work of Felder , 2 3 Smith and Evans , we realized that our methods of teaching, and the resultant student learning could be sub- stantially improved. Consequently, we have turned to various active and cooperative learning strategies in the conduct of our industrial engineering classes. While “active learning” has always been utilized for senior design capstone courses, it is now replacing “straight lecturing” as a more effective learning format for students. We describe-four undergraduate industrial engineering courses and how each has been converted to a primarily ac- tive learning format. These are “Modeling with Computer Applications” (first semester, sophomore); “Opera- tions Design, Planning and Work Measurement” (second semester, sophomore), “Human Factors Engineering” (first semester, junior), and “Total Quality Management” (junior/senior elective). We discuss how we introduce students to different learning styles, teamwork, provide team training, address conflict resolution, utilize the world wide web, address “real” problems, use the computer for problem solving, introduce ethics, and stress written and oral communications skills. We also discuss issues involved with grading team assignments, main- taining accountability, and student evaluation and assessment.

In the “Modeling” course, students learn how to approach, model, and solve unstructured problems, and then use the results to make decisions. In doing this they use the computer as a problem solving tool; refine their programming skills and learn how to work as part of a team. As their first industrial engineering course, it is designed to challenge the student but also be fun. Grades in this process oriented course are based on team assignments, homework, and class participation; there are no exams. The “Operations Design, Planning and Work Measurement” course builds upon the first course. Students learn and apply the basic IE concepts and thought processes to a series of unstructured problems. Several plant trips are used to provide a first-hand in- troduction to the IE at work. In the “Human Factors” course, students further delve into issues of behavior, mo- tivation, and ability in the design, development and operation of systems and components. Unstructured team projects are used to enhance learning. The “TQM” course introduces the student to the philosophies of Deming, Crosby, Juran and Kaizen and the spectrum of TQM tools and techniques for problem solving. Again, unstruc- tured team projects are used.

INTRODUCTION It is now accepted that engineering education is at a crossroads. A number of forces are causing us to re- examine what we are about and where we should be headed. As engineering educators, we will have to become both more flexible and more effective in how we prepare students for the next century.

* This work was partially funded by NSF grants DUE-9254271 and RED-9358516, as well as grants from the Ford Motor Company ~ Fund, the GE Fund and the Westinghouse Foundation. -. . . $!&’-’ 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings } ‘.

Shuman, L. J., & Atman, C., & Wolfe, H. (1996, June), Applying Tqm In The Le Classroom: The Switch To Active Learning Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5891

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