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Cheeseburger, Fries, And A Coke: It's About The Presentation

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Potpourri of First-Year Issues

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.276.1 - 15.276.8



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Paper Authors


John K. Estell Ohio Northern University

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John K. Estell is Chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science
Department, and Professor of Computer Engineering and Computer Science, at Ohio Northern
University. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His
areas of research include simplifying the outcomes assessment process, first-year engineering
instruction, and the pedagogical aspects of writing computer games. Dr. Estell is a Senior
Member of IEEE, and a member of ACM, ASEE, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Upsilon Pi

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Kenneth Reid Ohio Northern University

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Ken Reid is the Director of Freshman Engineering and an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Ohio Northern University. He was the seventh person in the U.S. to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. He is active in engineering within K-12, serving on the JETS Board of Directors and 10 years on the IEEE-USA Precollege Education Committee. He co-developed “The Tsunami Model Eliciting Activity” which was awarded Best Middle School Curriculum by the Engineering Education Service Center in 2009. His research interests include success in first-year engineering and engineering in K-12.

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Laurie Laird Ohio Northern University

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Laurie Laird is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Corporate & Alumni Relations for the College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University. She received her Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. After working in the aerospace industry for several years, she then moved on to ONU in 1993. She currently teaches first-year engineering courses, works with students and employers in the engineering co-op program, develops continuing education programs for alumni and is director of several middle- and high-school outreach programs within the college. In addition to being a member of ASEE, Prof. Laird is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Ohio Cooperative Education Association and is treasurer of the Midwest Cooperative Education and Internship Association.

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

Cheeseburger, Fries, and a Coke: It’s About the Presentation


Many students possess the misconception that the informational content is all that matters when communicating with others. For example, numerous faculty members have experienced the student who attempts to appeal a low score on an assignment by pointing to each relevant part of their work, trying to show that all content was included while at the same time being seemingly oblivious to the lack of clarity in their presentation of that content. Instructors in the first-year engineering program at Ohio Northern University created a short video, “Cheeseburger, Fries, and a Coke,” to impart to their students the importance of how information is presented. This video, approximately one and a half minutes in length, features a couple at a restaurant, each ordering a cheeseburger, French fries, and a Coke. While the content of each meal is the same, the presentation of the meal to each customer varies considerably. The video is shown to the class without prior introduction of the topic; a discussion session is held afterwards, with the instructor steering the conversation towards the relevant points regarding the importance of both content and presentation.


The original idea was developed during a Master Teacher Workshop session hosted by Ivy Tech Community College. This session, featuring participants from multiple schools in Indiana, focused on the development of innovative ideas for reaching students. The idea initially involved an in-class demonstration with the professor as the waiter and student volunteers as customers, using candy bars and water; however, any food and beverage would certainly work. The in-class version adds spontaneity to the demonstration; however, when discussed by the Ohio Northern University first-year engineering curriculum instructors, it was noted that visibility within the classroom would be an issue, plus the janitorial staff would not be happy with any messes that could possibly result from such a demonstration. Accordingly, the instructors decided that a video would be more effective as it would be more visible, provide more control over the situation being illustrated (e.g., multiple takes until the actors get it right), allow for visual close-ups featuring exaggerated responses from the actors to bring more humor into the presentation, and allow for better dissemination of the lesson if proven successful.


In order to determine the Cheeseburger video’s effectiveness, students were shown two in-class videos. The first video was the “All-in-One Guitar Playing Robot”1 where National Instruments and Intel demonstrate the use of a quad-core processor that runs both the game and the robot which plays it. This video was shown during a lecture period where different engineering accomplishments were discussed, and was intended to show a fun and interesting side of

Estell, J. K., & Reid, K., & Laird, L. (2010, June), Cheeseburger, Fries, And A Coke: It's About The Presentation Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15706

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