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Enhancing The Learning Of Engineering Economy With Innovative Technology And Teaching

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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

Effective Tools for Teaching Engineering Economy

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.676.1 - 12.676.10



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Paper Authors


Kailash Bafna Western Michigan University

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KAILASH M. BAFNA is Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Western Michigan University. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and a registered Professional Engineer. He teaches Engineering Economics, Facilities Design and Materials Handling, and Quality Control. His current research interests are in the areas of incorporating technology in education and developing methodology to enhance web-based learning.

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Betsy Aller Western Michigan University

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Betsy M. Aller is Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Western Michigan University. She teaches the capstone senior design sequence and the College-wide engineering design courses. She is a member of ASEE, ASEM, and SME, for which she is the student chapter advisor.

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

Enhancing the Learning of Engineering Economy with Innovative Technology and Teaching


As one migrates from the traditional classroom instruction using black or white boards to the use of computers, many other forms of technology have become available—both as hardware and software—that can enhance teaching and learning. This paper discusses the incorporation of several such innovations, including information transfer, application of spreadsheets (Excel) as a problem-solving tool, and pedagogical adaptation to current needs, into the teaching of engineering economy, a course required in many engineering programs.

During the last decade, engineering economy text books have gradually introduced the use of Excel in solving these problems. However, most solved examples shown in these books still use formulas or factors and interest tables. Over the semester, the course discussed in this paper moves gradually from solving problems using a combination of traditional methods and Excel to using only Excel. By the end of the semester, students take exams and solve even complex problems using Excel only. This approach should prove to be valuable to the students when they enter the working world, where finding textbooks and business calculators are an exception for the engineer, but having computers with Excel or any other spreadsheet software is common place. With an eye toward the needs of a changing student population, presentation and delivery of course materials have also been redesigned to enhance interest and learning, and to make course materials more accessible than previously possible. This paper discusses the need for change in the teaching of engineering economy, specific technological and pedagogical methods used, the quantitative and qualitative testing and results of changes, plans for ongoing research, and recommendations.


During the last millennium, the methods of instruction in the classroom did not experience much change. The instructor would use the chalkboard (which now has been converted to the white board), the overhead projector (which has been replaced with the document camera), and overhead transparencies (now replaced with PowerPoint presentations on the laptop). Students would attend lectures and multi-task as efficiently as possible. On the one hand, they wanted to copy down every word on the blackboard or screen; on the other, they wanted to soak up all the words of “wisdom” that the professor uttered. Something had to give—either their note taking or their understanding of the lecture. Students absent from a lecture because of illness, outside obligations, or just laziness had to rely entirely on a classmate for notes—a usually unsatisfactory method.

Today’s students face several challenges which their predecessors did not. During the last two decades, the rapidly rising cost of higher education has placed an additional burden on many students who now have to work to make ends meet. Other students are returning to college after having been in the workplace for several years. Those who work full-time and wish to pursue a degree usually have to take one or two evening or early morning classes during a semester; these classes are almost always several hours in duration. After a full day of work, these students are

Bafna, K., & Aller, B. (2007, June), Enhancing The Learning Of Engineering Economy With Innovative Technology And Teaching Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2886

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