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Developing An Online Undergraduate Engineering Economy Course

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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

Frontiers in Engineering Economy

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.383.1 - 15.383.5



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Paper Authors


Joseph Hartman University of Florida

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Joseph Hartman is Professor and Chair of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Georgia Institute of Technology and currently serves as Editor of The Engineering Economist.

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Jennifer Smith University of Florida

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Jennifer Smith is an Instructional Designer in the Center for Instructional Technology and Training at the University of Florida.

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

Developing an Online Undergraduate Engineering Economy Course


Given shrinking university budgets, increased enrollments and limited teaching space, a push has been made to develop online courses at the undergraduate level which will allow for large class sections and increase access, both on-campus and remotely. The development of online courses in engineering at the undergraduate level is new at the University of Florida. We discuss the process of developing an online course in engineering economy. We specifically address how to allow for students to interact in groups in an online environment through projects. We also discuss the ability to modularize delivery in order to appeal to different majors in the course, which may require slightly different content. The course, currently under development, is to be delivered in the Summer of 2010.


The introduction and use of distance education approaches and technologies is not new at institutions of higher learning, even in engineering. Many examples exist where students can take entire degrees off campus. However, most of these examples, including those at the University of Florida, are restricted to the graduate level.

In an effort to increase access amidst increasing enrollments and shrinking budgets, the Provost at the University of Florida is funding the developing of numerous online courses for use at the undergraduate level. Funding is provided for technical development of all course materials. The instructor must supply all content. This year, a course is being developed for Engineering Economy – the first engineering course to be developed under the program.

Engineering Economy is taught in three departments in the College of Engineering, including Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Industrial Engineering, at the University of Florida. The course taught in Industrial and Systems Engineering generally has the highest enrollments, with roughly 400 students from Industrial, Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, Computer Science and Materials Science enrolling annually (170 in each fall and spring semester and 60 in the summer).

The course was chosen for development because (a) it impacts a large number of engineering students; (b) development could replace all versions of engineering economy taught in the college; (c) the content was deemed amenable to an online format due to the lack of a laboratory component. This last point serves as the basis of discussion in Ibrahim and Morsi2, who show that of 126 institutions studied, 30% offer online degrees. Of these 38 programs, 60% offered Electrical Engineering degrees, with 82.6% of those offering M.S. degrees but only 4.3% offering an online B.S. degree (in 2004).

The benefits of online delivery are obvious to administrators, as physical space is not needed for delivery and thus does not present a limitation on enrollments. However, anecdotal evidence

Hartman, J., & Smith, J. (2010, June), Developing An Online Undergraduate Engineering Economy Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16328

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