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Integrating Innovative Pedagogies into Engineering Economics Courses

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Instructional Design

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.800.1 - 25.800.24



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Paper Authors


Naveen Seth New Community College at CUNY

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Naveen Seth is a founding faculty member in business at the City University of New York’s New Community College. He has also taught at Pratt Institute in the Construction Management Program. At Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, he headed the Aviation Management programs and also taught engineering economics in the B.S. program in engineering.

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Donald P. O'Keefe Farmingdale State College

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Donald P. O'Keefe has 15 years experience teaching at the college level. He taught courses in engineering graphics, quality control, and project management.

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Innovative Pedagogies in Engineering Economics CoursesContext and relevanceStudents need to see the relevance of both (engineering and economics) sides of the course totheir lives and to their chosen careers. Continually connecting class topics to events in the realworld adds meaning and depth to classroom instruction. This can include using real-world issuesin lectures, inviting industry representatives for discussions with students as well as writtenassignments that tie lessons to current events. Exercises such as crossword puzzles ( are also useful in building vocabulary of terms related to engineering economicsand project management.Conceptual clarityLearning the mechanics of computations such as those related to time value of money isimportant; equally so is the intuition behind such computations and the interpretation of resultstherefrom. E.g., what would be the impact of a change in financing costs? How will a change inthe time horizon play out for a business’ cost/revenue profile?Learning communitiesLearning communities have been found to augment learning and knowledge retention. Forexample, an engineering economics course may be paired with a statistics course where bothinclude are some integrative assignment applying statistical concepts to engineering economicsproblems; these assignments reinforce learning in both subjects. The engineering economicscourse may go on to form the basis for a project management course where the second courseintentionally, clearly and directly builds upon concepts introduced in the first. Likewise theengineering economics course introduces and identifies concepts that will be used in the projectmanagement course. Students get to see connections between concepts such as the earned valueor work progress and cash flow; between motivating factors of project delivery types (such asDesign Build or Job Order Contracting) and their competitive advantage; between a contractualobligation clause such as liquidated damages and performance bonding to their profit margin.Future directions in teaching engineering economicsThe Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) industry is changing rapidly with increasingadoption of integrated practices involving stakeholders along the many stages of the design andprocurement process. Building Information Models (BIM) are software applications thatestablish processes to enable data to be used over a building’s lifecycle. The most recentSmartMarket Report stated that “almost 50% of the industry is using BIM.”In light of this news, educators will have to adapt many of their programs and courses, especiallyin topics such as Estimating, Project Management, and Mechanical, Electrical and PlumbingSystems to promote proficiency in the use of these tools, thereby increasing students’marketability.There are already several commercially available BIM applications that are widely used inProject Management (e.g., 4D BIM for monitoring costs and time during construction).Introducing a time element and decomposing the BIM allows the construction plan to besequenced as in a Gantt chart or network diagram. Students can thus simulate and visualizeearned value of a project versus its planned value in order to answer questions related tobudgeting and scheduling. The BIM is adaptive, able to schedule changes to catch up or “crashcosts.”References“The Business Value of BIM: Getting Building Information Modeling to the Bottom Line.”(2009). McGraw Hill Construction Division.Ullmer, James H. and Lewandowski, April L. (2003) “The Value of Learning Communities inthe Economics Classroom.” Mountain Rise, 1(1).“A New Community College Concept Paper.” (2008). The City University of New York Office ofAcademic Affairs.

Seth, N., & O'Keefe, D. P. (2012, June), Integrating Innovative Pedagogies into Engineering Economics Courses Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21557

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