San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering
25.231.1 - 25.231.12
Assessment of Student Performances in Operations Research Class Delivered by an Innovative ApproachOperation research provides a core foundation for Industrial Engineers. It is one of the firstcourses to introduce crucial skills in its algorithmic approach to problem solving and abstractmathematical modeling of real systems. It provides the mathematic science that underpinsfunctionality of the optimization tools and algorithms used by Industrial Engineers.Traditional pedagogical delivery methods have both conceptual and procedural problems. Theprocedural problems can be overcome by an increase in practice. However, the conceptualproblems need an increase in critical thinking capabilities.An innovative restructuring of the of the delivery method for Operations Research course wasdeveloped in 2001 in the department of Industrial Engineering at Morgan State University. Thecourse material has been divided into ten major topics areas. Each topic area is introduced to thestudents through a series of lectures. Upon completion of the lectures series, the student devisesand completes an individual problem illustrating their understanding of the fundamentals of thelecture topic. The student schedules an oral presentation with the instructor to demonstrate thatunderstanding. Once the student devised problem is successfully presented, the student isassigned a more rigorous homework problem to complete within 24 hours. This is a pass/failindicator of the students’ readiness to take the topic test. The student must pass a minimum ofseven topics to complete the course. Additional topics are added; time permitting, toward theend of the semester. This structure has been implemented and enhanced over the last nine yearsbased on critical reviews at the end of each semester taking into account student input,assessments, and performance.The outcome thus far has been a mixture of very positive results and a significant negative one.Overall, the students demonstrate deeper understanding of the concepts, and better performancein procedural work. There is also a more organized approach to the modularization anddissemination of the course material and more enthusiastic involvement by the students in thelearning process. However, the structure has resulted in higher failure rate. To identify andanalyze the causes of such an increase, a yearlong research was conducted.In this investigation we have used assessment techniques including: student interviews, studentsurveys, historical data, instructor interview, examination of student’s test and homework, andstatistical analysis. Based on that assessment and its analysis, twelve possible causes of theincreased failure rate have been identified and discussed. Additionally, some recommendationsare provided for students, instructor, and the administration to improve outcomes.
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