June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.759.1 - 15.759.13
Integrating Computer Programming Technologies into the Industrial Engineering Curriculum
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. 10.18260/1-2--15902
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