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Engineering Economy: Current Teaching Practices

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.233.1 - 4.233.4

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Paper Authors

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Ted G. Eschenbach

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Kim LaScola Needy

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Jerome P. Lavelle

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Heather Nachtmann

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

Session 1339

Engineering Economy: Current Teaching Practices Heather Nachtmann, Kim LaScola Needy/ Jerome Lavelle/ Ted Eschenbach University of Pittsburgh/ Kansas State University/ University of Alaska Anchorage


A two-part survey was conducted in 1995 and 1997 in order to examine the teaching practices of engineering economy educators. The first survey was sent to the mailing lists of the Council of Industrial Engineering Academic Department Heads and the Engineering Economy Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. The first survey yielded 45 useable responses. Twenty-eight of the respondents also participated in the second survey. In total, the survey participants teach 165 sessions of engineering economy on average each year to over 10,000 students. A statistical analysis was performed on the data to examine the effect of the instructor’s discipline and class size on teaching methods. Detailed findings have been previously reported. 6,9,10 The purposes of this paper are to discuss existing teaching practices in engineering economy as uncovered by our two-part survey and to suggest methods of improvement based on relevant literature.


Based on the authors’ work in surveying engineering economics instructors, three central issues emerge as a semester’s plan is being developed: “Am I attempting to cover too much material?”, “Am I lecturing from a single text?” and “Am I encouraging active learning in my classroom?” In this paper we will address each of these questions and attempt to provide a perspective from the pedagogy survey work done and detailed previously.

Content: How much is too much?

The average engineering economy class is covering 14 chapters of material. Engineering economy educators should evaluate whether too much material is being covered too quickly in their courses. The question that instructors should ask themselves is whether students can effectively learn, apply and master the course material being planned. Is the engineering economy student better served by mastering a higher fraction of fewer topics or a lesser fraction of more topics? Wankat 11 explains that “content tyranny exists when the need to cover material rather than to encourage student learning dominates educator’s teaching and testing styles”.

Avoid relying solely on the “textbook lecture”

Eighty-nine percent of the engineering economy courses examined in this research use a single text. Only 44% of respondents supplement the single text with other materials such as personal notes, articles or cases. Six of the respondents supplement their textbooks with case studies. On average, case studies only account for 2% of the final grade. This small percentage may signify a lack of importance being placed on case studies in engineering economy education.

Eschenbach, T. G., & Needy, K. L., & Lavelle, J. P., & Nachtmann, H. (1999, June), Engineering Economy: Current Teaching Practices Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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