Asee peer logo

Assessment Of Hands On Introductions To Industrial Engineering

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching Methods in IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.252.1 - 11.252.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Durward Sobek Montana State University

visit author page

Durward Sobek is an Associate Professor in Industrial and Management Engineering. He holds an AB degree in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College, and MS and PhD degrees in Industrial and Operations Engineering from The University of Michigan.

visit author page


Susan Freeman Northeastern University

visit author page

Susan Freeman is an Associate Academic Specialist in the College Of Engineering. She holds BS, MS and PhD degrees in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University. Susan worked at Eastman Kodak Company for 9 years as an IE, and has been teaching in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department for 15 years.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Assessment of Hands-On Introductions to Industrial Engineering


This paper focuses on two Introduction to Industrial Engineering courses offered at different institutions. The instructors of these courses have independently developed and incorporated numerous hands-on and experiential learning exercises to convey core topics in the field of Industrial Engineering. While it is evident that the courses are more entertaining with these exercises, it is less clear that they affect student learning in positive ways. Thus, this paper describes similarities and differences between the approaches used to address the common topics covered in the two courses. We then present data from student surveys on what they perceive they have learned about major topics covered in the course, and their engagement level with the instruction used for the various topics. This assessment enables us to evaluate the efficacy of the hands-on, active learning approaches versus more traditional approaches.


Industrial Engineers do not build bridges, design devices, analyze chemicals, or test for earthquakes. Much of the engineering that Industrial Engineers accomplish is not as visible as in other engineering fields. Yet IE’s are vital to many industries and have a variety of field concentrations with excellent career and job advancement opportunities. Introductory courses serve to expose student to the breadth of the field and help recruit students to a little known major. Ideally, these courses prepare students for follow-on courses and future Industrial Engineering (IE) jobs.

The IE programs at Northeastern University (NU) and Montana State University (MSU) have recently developed introductory courses to attract students to the IE major, expose them to the breadth of the field, and prepare them for future coursework. The instructors of these courses (and authors of this paper) independently developed hands-on and other interactive activities to introduce core IE topics. It is well documented that active learning techniques enhance learning and the student experience.1-4 It is also apparent that not all active learning exercises are equally effective. Thus, while the anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that students enjoy the hands-on activities more than traditional classroom delivery (i.e., via lecture), we saw a need to confirm the pedagogical merit of the specific activities employed.

In this paper, after a brief description of the courses and institutions where they are taught, we provide descriptions of some of the exercises. We then present data and analysis from a survey of students regarding their engagement and level of learning across the spectrum of activities. We conclude with a summary of responses to open ended questions related to their overall perceptions of the field to which they’ve just been introduced.

Sobek, D., & Freeman, S. (2006, June), Assessment Of Hands On Introductions To Industrial Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1196

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015