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Effective Pedagogical Techniques In Operations Research Courses Intent On Improving Analysis Skills And Report Writing

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

IE Curriculum Design

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.580.1 - 12.580.16



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Paper Authors

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Sima Parisay California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

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

Effective Pedagogical Techniques in Operations Research Courses Intent on Improving Analysis Skills and Writing Report

Dr. Sima Parisay California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Abstract

Powerful Operations Research (OR) softwares provide many of the analytical features needed to solve OR problems. However, students lack the skills required for problem formulation, efficient application of software features, and communication of their findings in a report format. An effective pedagogy is developed to assist students with problem formulation while enforcing analytical skills and guiding writing reports. I have utilized pedagogy tools such as handouts with specific guidelines and extensive examples, in-class discussions, homework assignments, and a final project to enforce report writing and analytical thinking. Moreover, I stress the importance of analyzing the software’s solutions further to obtain more useful information.

Though writing a “Report to a Manager” has been an element of my OR courses since 1999, the new approach has evolved in the last three years. This new approach is aimed at helping students to better understand, utilize, and communicate OR techniques. The pedagogy proved to be very effective, with an overwhelmingly positive feedback from students.

1- Introduction

Operations Research courses usually start with discussion of Linear Programming (LP): formulating a problem; using simplex method to arrive at the solution; explaining how to mathematically obtain shadow price and reduced cost, as well as allowable ranges; and discussing topics in sensitivity analysis. Later, a selection of other techniques, such as Transportation, Decision Theory, and Markov Chain, is usually covered.

We are a state university with the ten-week quarter system, emphasizing teaching. Our department offers two senior level undergraduate courses in the OR field: Operations Research I (IE 416) and Operations Research II (IE 417). The two OR courses are offered as web assisted courses and their websites are at the following URL:

The textbook used for these courses is by W. L. Winston’s "Operations Research, Application and Algorithms" and we use "WinQSB" software by Y-L Chang. Topics covered in IE 416 are: Linear programming, Simplex algorithm, LP sensitivity analysis, Goal programming, Transportation, Assignment, Transshipment, and Integer program. Topics covered in IE 417 are: Decision theory, Markov chain, and Queuing theory.

The OR courses have been gradually improved based on students’ comments. These comments were part of a required portfolio containing a collection of the student’s work during the quarter and his/her comments on how the work helped in the learning process and any suggestions for

Parisay, S. (2007, June), Effective Pedagogical Techniques In Operations Research Courses Intent On Improving Analysis Skills And Report Writing Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2105

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