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Enriching the Engineering Economics Class

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Economy Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Robert P. Leland Oral Roberts University

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Robert Leland has taught engineering at Oral Roberts University since 2005. Prior to that he served on the faculty at the University of Alabama from 1990 - 2005. His interests are in control systems, engineering education and stochastic processes. He has participated in engineering education research through the NSF Foundation Coalition, NSF CCLI and NSF Department Level Reform programs.

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Enriching the Engineering Economics Class

The majority of Engineering Economics textbooks cover the numerical basis for estimating costs, evaluating and comparing projects and computing taxes. This reflects the material needed for the FE exam very directly. The typical text is lacking in giving students perspective on the broader impact of engineering and economic activity, and is in general lacking in giving a student perspective on the meaning and value of the engineering profession, including the business side. Current engineering students have a strong interest in seeing how their professional activities can benefit society. Risk and the quality movement are also important topics that are also typically not included.

It has been very helpful to enrich the course through short assigned readings and a research paper. The readings are chosen to give the students examples of technology making a positive difference, such as wireless communication in developing countries, individuals choosing to make a difference, such as Tom Bloch, CEO of H & R Bloch teaching 8th grade algebra in an inner city school, and individuals exercising integrity, such as a whistleblower in the Citibank mortgage department. Students write a half page summary on these topics to ensure they actually read the assignment. We also consider risk (Congolese Wireless Network)

Research papers have included such topics as Global Warming, One Laptop Per Child, Wireless communication in developing countries, the Grameen Bank, the quality movement, etc. These are more in depth and require the use of more than just web resources. Students have come up with their own topics as well, such as interviewing the president of an engineering company, or Baby Boxes

The research paper is used to assess students' knowledge of contemporary issues and understanding of broader impacts.

Leland, R. P. (2017, June), Enriching the Engineering Economics Class Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28284

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