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Increasing Student Engagement In Engineering Economy Class

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovation in Teaching Engineering Economics

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.750.1 - 11.750.7



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Paper Authors

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Ahmad Sarfaraz California State University-Northridge

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Tarek Shraibati California State University-Northridge

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


There are many strategies that can be used to encourage student engagement for an engineering economy class. Two engagement strategies including weekly quizzes and group problem-solving activities are considered in this paper. Our goal was to experiment with the selected strategies to determine which strategy worked best to promote deeper student learning in an engineering economy course. Student attendance, student achievement, maintaining pace with the class and student learning were the four factors that were measured in this study.


A number of reports show that there are dramatic differences between today’s students and those of a few years ago1. Nowadays, we see a general decrease in student preparedness, an increase in number of employed students, an increase in number of part-time students, and an increase in the age of students. Although there are some factors that cannot be influenced by instructors, we can enhance students’ success rate by increasing student engagement. By engaging students we expect students to move from memorizing concepts, to explaining those same concepts, to using those concepts in real-life problem solving situations, to analyzing under what conditions those concepts apply (or do not apply), and ultimately to making decisions.

Based on the findings of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) 2, it is now widely accepted that increasing student engagement is a critical role of engineering educators in our society. This study stresses that student engagement should not be addressed in just a single course in a student’s academic career, but rather it should become the pattern of his or her involvement in a variety of activities. It is believed engineering colleges have a vital role to implement effective strategies to increase engagement of students in learning. National experts have also noted “too many students appear content to scratch the surface of assigned course readings and to memorize minimally that which might appear on examinations” 3. This is a trend that we have also seen. Smith et al discussed classroom-based pedagogies of engagement, such as cooperative learning and problem-based learning 4. The authors in this paper urge all engineering faculty to consider not only the content and topics that make up an engineering degree but also how students engage with these materials. Review of the literature shows that faculty at many institutions have attempted to determine engagement methods that works best for their student population. With this in mind, it was decided to experiment with student engagement strategies in several sections of an engineering economy course and to implement the strategy that best improves student learning in all sections of the course.

There are many strategies that can be used to encourage student engagement for an engineering economy class. Among these strategies, four were identified5 as weekly quizzes, weekly journals, group problem-solving activities, and extra-help sessions. For this study the effects of

Sarfaraz, A., & Shraibati, T. (2006, June), Increasing Student Engagement In Engineering Economy Class Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1249

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