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Does the Use of Clickers Increase Conceptual Understanding in the Engineering Economy Classroom?

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Integrating Research

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.479.1 - 25.479.10



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Paper Authors


Karen M. Bursic University of Pittsburgh

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Karen M. Bursic is an Assistant Professor and the Undergraduate Program Director for Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the department, she worked as a Senior Consultant for Ernst and Young and as an Industrial Engineer for General Motors Corporation. She teaches undergraduate courses in engineering economics, engineering management, and probability and statistics in industrial engineering as well as engineering computing in the freshman engineering program. Bursic has done research and published work in the areas of engineering and project management and engineering education. She is a member of IIE and ASEE and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania.

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Does the use of Clickers Increase Conceptual Understanding in the Engineering Economy Classroom?Response devices or “clickers” are seeing increased use in many engineering classrooms. These devicesallow students to anonymously respond to a question posed by the instructor and then compare theirresponse to the rest of the class. They are an active learning tool that can be used to increase studentengagement in the classroom and assist faculty in understanding what their students know and don’tknow. But do they increase conceptual understanding of course concepts (that is, do they improvelearning)? This paper reports on an experiment in which several sections of an engineering economycourse at a large university are compared. Each section was taught by the same instructor, who usedthe same lecture notes, homework, quizzes, projects and so forth. The only difference was the use ofclickers in the classroom in the experimental section. Two control sections were used to compareagainst the experimental section, one in which a different text was used but consisted of similarstudents (sophomore industrial engineering students – previous academic year) and one in which thesame textbook was used but consisted of students from non-IE engineering disciplines (same academicyear). To assess learning, an engineering economics concepts inventory was given to all sections of thecourse both at the beginning (pre) and end of the semester (post). While a gain in the average conceptinventory score is certainly expected in any section of the course, this paper reports on whether a largergain is seen in the experimental section (using clickers). In addition, students’ evaluation of teachingsurveys are also used to determine if other differences are apparent between the sections.

Bursic, K. M. (2012, June), Does the Use of Clickers Increase Conceptual Understanding in the Engineering Economy Classroom? Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21237

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