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Information Technology Based Active Learning: A Pilot Study For Engineering Economy

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.703.1 - 8.703.14



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Paper Authors

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Mary Huba

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Frank Peters

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Sarah Ryan

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John Jackman

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Sigurdur Olafsson

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

Session 2793

Information Technology Based Active Learning: A Pilot Study for Engineering Economy Sigurdur Olafsson, Mary Huba, John Jackman, Frank Peters, and Sarah Ryan

Iowa State University


We have recently designed a learning environment to add practical problem solving, increased information technology content, and active learning to industrial engineering courses. In particular, we have successfully implemented and tested a computer-based module for an undergraduate engineering economy course. In this module, students are required to formulate the problem, devise a plan of action, and derive a final solution using the domain knowledge acquired in class. In addition to improving understanding of the course material, the module is also designed to improve more general cognitive skills and specifically to enhance the metacognitive ability of the participating students. A prototype of the module is currently being used in a classroom setting and we report on our initial experiences and student outcomes. We also discuss how this will be extended to an active learning environment that uses information technology across the curriculum to integrate all required undergraduate courses.

1. Introduction Using information technology (IT) to improve engineering education offers much promise for educational improvements7,16,20, but also requires careful consideration of both technical content and of learning objectives. In this paper we describe our recent and ongoing work in designing and developing an IT-based learning environment that both effectively delivers the desired technical content and promotes learning that we value by improving students’ cognitive skills.

The first implemented phase of the new learning environment is a module developed for engineering economy and a pilot study has been conducted using this module in a classroom setting. This module and our initial experience are described in some detail below. Based on the results obtained, we also describe how we plan for this environment to be expanded and eventually integrate the entire undergraduate curriculum via a network of interconnected modules.

The ultimate success of IT in the classroom hinges to great extent on its ability to address challenges that may be difficult to solve without the enabling technology. One clear potential for using information technology to improve upon traditional lecture classes is to use it to promote collaborative learning19 and active learning12,13. Specifically, using information technology, sophisticated simulated environments can be created that allow students to address realistic problem scenarios in a hands-on fashion using domain knowledge mastered in the relevant courses4. Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Huba, M., & Peters, F., & Ryan, S., & Jackman, J., & Olafsson, S. (2003, June), Information Technology Based Active Learning: A Pilot Study For Engineering Economy Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11733

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