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Educating Engineers For The Information Age

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Current Issues in Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.459.1 - 8.459.14



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Paper Authors

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Chetan Sankar

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P.K. Raju

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

Session 2558

Educating Engineers for the Information Age

P.K. Raju, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Chetan S. Sankar, Department of Management Auburn University, AL 36849

Abstract Information technology, which is rapidly becoming one of the fundamentals of engineering, will soon be embedded in virtually every new product and process. In order to take full advantage of the wide range of new possibilities that are becoming available, the design of products, systems, and services will require teams that can integrate information technologies with traditional engineering areas such as fluid mechanics, thermal sciences, materials science, manufacturing technologies, and precision design. In addition, more than 1.3 million new programmers, engineers, systems analysts, and computer scientists will be required between 1996 to 2006 to meet the information technology demands of the nation’s industries according to a report from the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Technology.

To address this need, the vital importance of the introduction of information technologies to creatively improve undergraduate education has been stressed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Thus, in partnership with relevant industries, we have developed instructional materials in the form of multi-media case studies with the following educational objectives: (1) to introduce engineering students to the complexity of real-world problems; (2) to show how engineering companies operate in the information age; and (3) to improve the higher-level cognitive-based problem solving abilities of our students.

In this paper, we will describe our approach and discuss how the educational objectives were accomplished. Our results show that multimedia case studies (1) stimulate students’ interest in engineering topics, (2) engage female students, and (3) motivate engineering faculty members to integrate these materials in their classrooms.

I. Introduction Contemporary engineering design and industrial practice has undergone a dramatic change in the new information age, where the machinery, processes, control systems, and services are information technology-driven. We use the term information technology (IT) to refer to any use of machine technology that is controlled by or uses information in some important way. Information technologies are a combination of hardware, software, and telecommunications networks that people build and use to collect, create, and distribute data. For example, one type of information technology is a programmable robot on the shop floor of a manufacturing firm that receives component specifications and operational instructions from computer-based databases and expert systems. Another example would be a computer-controlled drill press combined with other shop floor equipment in such a way that a person could monitor and control each piece of

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Sankar, C., & Raju, P. (2003, June), Educating Engineers For The Information Age Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12487

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