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How to Effectively Teach an Online Graduate Operations Management Course?

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Developing Better Engineering Managers - Curricular Ideas from Year 1 Through Graduate School

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

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Paper Authors


Peilin Fu National University

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Peilin Fu, Ph.D., received the Bachelor of Engineering in Automatic Control from Qingdao University of Science and Technology, China, Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Ocean University of China, China, and Ph.D. in Systems Engineering and Engineering Management from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. She is currently an Associate Professor with the Department of Applied Engineering, School of Engineering and Computing, National University, San Diego, California, USA. She was formerly a Lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Riverside during 2004-2008, and a Research Associate in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology during 2003-2004. Dr. Fu is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Control Science and Engineering, and has been served as the International Program Committee Member and Organizer of several international conferences and workshops.

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How to Effectively Teach an Online Graduate Operations Management Course?

Operations management is a vital topic that every engineering management student needs to understand. It has been listed as a core course in the management science and engineering programs all around the world. This course covers broad areas such as process analysis, quality and performance, capacity planning, supply chain, inventory management, forecasting, operations planning and scheduling, and resource planning etc., which are all closely related with the daily operations of enterprises. However, due to lack of experiences in business operations, most of the students feel the course difficult to learn. The traditional teacher-oriented teaching method, in which the teacher explains the textbook contents to students, makes students lose interests and confidence. An online Operation Management course in which the students and instructor have limited/no face-to-face communications is even more challenging.

How to innovate the teaching approaches to stimulate students’ enthusiasm and critical thinking in an online environment is discussed in this paper. A combination of teaching approaches including active learning, cooperative learning and problem-based learning were applied in teaching an online Operations Management course through case studies, homework assignments, threaded discussions, Blackboard Collaborate sessions and project etc. Students developed simulation games in their group project to simulate business operations and dynamics. The design of the games not only helped students quickly gain a conceptual background of the real world operations problems, but also increased the depth of their learning. A rich combination of project work and exposure to engineering practice throughout the curriculum provide excellent vehicles for students to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The students feedback and end-of-course survey were collected at the end of the course, which demonstrated that these teaching methodologies especially the simulation game project stimulated students’ enthusiasm and critical thinking, improved students’ problem-solving skills.

Fu, P. (2016, June), How to Effectively Teach an Online Graduate Operations Management Course? Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25488

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