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Industrial Partners Provide Progress Report Card Feedback On Newly Developed Industrial Control Systems Laboratory

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Innovative Curriculum Development in EET

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.663.1 - 7.663.13



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Paper Authors

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Jerome Tapper

author page

Walter Buchanan

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

Main Menu Session 1448


Jerome Tapper, Walter W. Buchanan Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts

Abstract ¾ In order for engineering technology programs to provide more formidable state-of- the-art programs for their students, program administrators must gain insight into the worthiness of their curricula. Engineering technology programs and courses supported and evaluated by industry representatives are quite valuable in preparing students for responding to local and national market needs. After two years in development, a newly created Industrial Control Systems Laboratory supported in this manner, was implemented at Northeastern University’s School of Engineering Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. This paper presents a brief history of the development and implementation of this laboratory course. More importantly, it provides interesting evaluation feedback from the industrial partners who supported this project since its inception through both state-of-the-art equipment donations valued at greater than $500,000 as well as valuable feedback. Guidance from these important industrial resources is invaluable in making any midcourse corrections to the program and ensuring the material is relevant. This paper chronicles and outlines this process and shares the results with the reader.


In the summer of 1998 during an informal lunch time meeting with the then director of engineering technology and the electrical engineering technology program coordinator, this author determined that a long overdue overhaul of the electrical engineering technology curricula was needed. Outdated existing courses coupled with declining program enrollments was leading to a severe decline in the Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) program.

In an effort to eliminate this situation, this author suggested the university create an innovative programming approach. The idea was to create a “new” group of courses that simultaneously utilized current technologies while also addressing a need in the industrial sector. It was a requirement that course related cooperative-work assignments play an integral role in this new curriculum. The idea was to not only create a new curriculum of courses, but a “new” and modern way of presenting the materials in these courses. This was the “birth” of the “Lecture- Laboratory” venue at Northeastern University. This venue allowed students to gain technical expertise via standard lectures along with “hands-on” experience during the same class period. It called for the application of the “engineering team” design process to solve design and application problems.

It was proposed that an Industrial Control Systems program be initiated as the first of these experimental courses. While clearly the concept had merit, there was legitimate concern about the cost of implementing such an idea.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Tapper, J., & Buchanan, W. (2002, June), Industrial Partners Provide Progress Report Card Feedback On Newly Developed Industrial Control Systems Laboratory Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11241

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