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Integrating Computer Programming Technologies Into The Industrial Engineering Curriculum

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

15.759.1 - 15.759.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/15902

Download Count

28

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Paper Authors

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Jorge Valenzuela Auburn University

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Jorge Valenzuela received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in the year 2000. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Auburn University. His recent research involves stochastic models for the evaluation of production costs and optimization of electric power generation. He teaches courses on Operations Research and Information Technology.

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Jeffrey Smith Auburn University

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Jeffrey S. Smith is Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Auburn University. Prior to this position, he was on the faculty of the Industrial Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. In addition to his academic positions, Dr. Smith has held professional positions with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Philip Morris USA. Dr. Smith has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University. His primary research and teaching interests are in manufacturing systems design and analysis and discrete event simulation.

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Ben Reece Auburn University

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Ben Reece obtained a Bachelor degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University in 2008. He is currently a Masters student in the Industrial Engineering Department at Auburn University. He is also member of IIE.

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David Shannon Auburn University

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David Shannon has a Ph.D. Research Methodology and Statistics from the University of Virginia in 1990 and is currently the Humana-Germany- Sherman Distinguished Professor at Auburn University. His research has focused on assessment issues, program evaluation and methodological issues. Dr. Shannon has published over 50 articles in refereed journals since joining the Auburn faculty in 1990.

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

Integrating Computer Programming Technologies into the Industrial Engineering Curriculum

Abstract

Incorporation of powerful “scripting languages” in engineering modeling software is becoming increasingly common. Unfortunately, while most engineering curricula include one or two programming-related courses at the freshman and/or sophomore level, students generally show weak computer programming skills when they reach the core curriculum courses. This project seeks to develop an innovative set of classroom modules involving computer programming for use throughout the Industrial Engineering curriculum. The modules are in response to our belief that the main cause of the problem is not the specific material covered in the computer programming courses but the lack of reinforcement that the students receive from other engineering courses with regard to computer programming skills. This project’s goal is to investigate whether significant, formal, well-designed reinforcement of the programming skills outside of traditional programming courses will lead to students more proactively using their programming skills in situations that would benefit from their use. Five modules have been developed and tested during the first year of the project. In this presentation, we will discuss the preliminary results stemming from the use of these modules in our undergraduate courses. This project is being funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education of the National Science Foundation under Grant DUE-0836260.

Introduction As educators, it is our responsibility to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for engineering students to be successful in their workplace. In this regard, we must examine the use of computer technologies in today’s business and engineering environments. Experts agree that most of the engineering modeling software used today in the industry requires some knowledge of a computer programming language such as FORTRAN, C, C++, Java, or Visual Basic (VB). Moreover, the incorporation of powerful “scripting languages” in most of these modeling tools has significantly increased the capability of integrating them and knowledge of these scripting capabilities is becoming more important for engineering students.

Most current engineering curricula include one or two courses at the freshman and/or sophomore levels that cover general computer programming using one or two computer languages. In the industrial engineering (IE) curriculum at Auburn University there are two courses dedicated to teaching the basics of computer programming. COMP 1200, which is offered at the freshman year, teaches MATLAB and COMP 1210 covers Visual Basic and it is generally taken during the sophomore or junior year. However, despite successfully completing these courses, the students generally show weak computer programming skills when they reach the core IE courses during their junior and senior years. In response, we have revised the content of these two courses on several occasions (changing them from teaching the programming language C to C++ and then to Java), but the problem persists. Last year, our department decided to again change the content of COMP 1210 from Java to VB. The new course was initially offered during the fall semester of 2008. The reason for teaching VB is that the preferable computer modeling tool used by the

Valenzuela, J., & Smith, J., & Reece, B., & Shannon, D. (2010, June), Integrating Computer Programming Technologies Into The Industrial Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15902

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