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Focused Curricular Activities Designed to Improve Student Competency in Data-driven Process Improvement

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Technology Pedagogy 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Clayton J. Hahola Montana State University

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Clay Hahola is currently an Operations Engineer at Go Fast Campers in Bozeman, Montana. He is an Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Masters graduate from Montana State University with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the same institution. He has worked as a Teaching Assistant for ETME 415, the course this paper references, for three semesters over the tenure of his MS and has had past experience in teaching and grading MET undergrad courses throughout his undergraduate and graduate student career. His research interests include
manufacturing systems optimization and production management as well as engineering

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Kevin R. Cook Montana State University

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Kevin Cook is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Montana State University with primary teaching responsibilities supporting the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program. He also serves as the Curriculum Coordinator of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, supporting curricular activities of the MET, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Management Systems Engineering programs. Mr. Cook holds a B.S. degree in MET and a M.S. degree in Industrial and Management Engineering, both from Montana State University. Mr. Cook has significant industrial experience and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Montana. His research interests relate to education improvement, as well as curriculum design and integration.

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William J. Schell IV P.E. Montana State University Orcid 16x16

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William J. Schell holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering – Engineering Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Industrial and Management Engineering from Montana State University (MSU). He is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Associate Director of the Montana Engineering Education Research Center, and a KEEN Leader at MSU with research interests in engineering education and the role of leadership and culture in process improvement. His research is supported by the NSF, private foundations, and industry and has received numerous national and international awards. He is an elected Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Management and serves as an Associate Editor for the Engineering Management Journal . Prior to his academic career, Schell spent 14 years in industry where he held leadership positions focused on process improvement and organizational development.

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Recent internal assessment and evaluation activity within the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program at [the university] identified an opportunity to improve student learning outcomes in knowledge and application of statistical concepts. While the MET program did not have room for an additional course in this area, curricular review identified an existing design and build course where specific activities could be developed and integrated to provide additional learning to students. Specific course changes were made through the addition of lessons focused on understanding the concepts of Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Design of Experiments (DOE). Focused laboratory activities incorporating use of a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) were also developed and implemented to reinforce the additional lessons presented in the lecture component of the course. Ultimately, these lessons and lab activities provide deliberate and pointed educational focus designed to improve achievement of essential statistical competencies, especially those related to data collection, data analysis, and drawing appropriate inferences from the results of the analysis to improve processes. Upon completion of these lessons, increased competency and comfortability with the practical application of statistical practices is expected. This paper outlines the assessment activity that identified the opportunity, explores how the pedagogical approaches used in the selected course were developed to enhance and improve students’ knowledge of statistical applications appropriate to the MET profession, reports on initial results of this implementation, and finally, identifies improvements that will be implemented in the future.

Hahola, C. J., & Cook, K. R., & Schell, W. J. (2021, July), Focused Curricular Activities Designed to Improve Student Competency in Data-driven Process Improvement Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37198

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