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Integrating Business Concepts Into Ece Design Courses: An Alternate Approach

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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

8.724.1 - 8.724.7

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Paper Authors

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Gordon Silverman

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

Session 2793

Integrating Business Concepts into ECE Design Courses: An Alternate Approach

Henry Chaya, FSC, Associate Professor Gordon Silverman, Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering Manhattan College, Riverdale, New York


To prepare students for the 21st century global environment, Consultor groups and ABET have encouraged engineering schools to make provision for leadership development within their programs. The model envisioned by the corporate/industrial community would aim to have students achieve competency in business practices equivalent to the proficiencies realized in engineering subject areas. One method for achieving this is to ask students to respond to "Request for Proposal" (RFPs) in which inter- and multi-discipline design teams "compete" with alternate solutions. Corporate representatives provide realistic scenarios through active participation in such courses. These "clients" require the students to use realistic project management tools and reinforce planning and economic aspects of a design without neglecting the technical aspects of the project. While such approaches have proven successful, they neglect an important element of leadership development - the "entrepreneurial" aspect. To this end, we describe an alternative scenario that we have designated the "venture capital" (VC) approach. It retains the important feature in which corporate representation is retained but requires students to initiate their own projects (as opposed to providing an RFP). Class discussions provide information for development of a Business Plan including: purpose, use of tile technology, market analysis and forecast, financial plan, and management. Student projects are depicted and include: Voice biometrics wherein an individual’s speech pattern is digitized and stored to produce a “voiceprint”; an electronic tuner for selecting signals at specific frequencies and sound reproduction; an electronic audiometer for testing hearing loss. Course assessment results and evaluation are explained.

I. Background

The industrial and corporate roles that engineering graduates play have greatly broadened as a consequence of the emergence of the “global” character of economic activity. Accordingly, objectives for engineering design has shifted from those characterized mainly by practical consideration (e.g., component, system, or process design) to those embracing the integration of business and entrepreneurial skills coupled with technical skills. Team-oriented design, and awareness of the economic, reliability, and social impact of work product are a few of the new educational prerequisites for this climate. This redirection follows from outcomes assessments and needs of the engineering industrial/corporate client community and subsequently from ABET. As noted in the Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs [1],

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Silverman, G. (2003, June), Integrating Business Concepts Into Ece Design Courses: An Alternate Approach Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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