June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.780.1 - 15.780.8
Integration of Engineering Economics, Statistics, and Project Management: Reinforcing Key Concepts
Engineering economics, statistics, and project management are courses which have significant workplace application. Consequently, it is important that they prepare graduates with essential skills which complement the technical engineering content of engineering programs and make new engineers more effective in applying technology and solving problems. These courses are often offered independently and the concepts contained in each are not linked to clearly illustrate how these courses together represent an essential, integrated, and complementary body of knowledge. This presents a lost opportunity in reinforcing concepts in areas such as project valuation, variation in estimates, statistical risk, expected value and similar real world topics which are essential in a project engineering workplace. This paper presents a curricular plan to accomplish integration of key topics in these courses in a focused and effective manner. It begins with examining general concepts in engineering curriculum integration. Next it examines key curricular topics in engineering economics, statistics, and project management courses and maps specific areas which can be reinforced and integrated. Finally, it maps course concepts to the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and segments FE topics based on those which apply to the Industrial Engineering exam (afternoon segment) and those which are more broadly applicable to the general portion of the exam (morning segment) and other engineering disciplines. The paper contributes to the literature on curricular integration, work place skills, and pass rate for the FE exam.
The concept of an integrated engineering curriculum is based on the foundation of how engineering is defined and how engineering is practiced. Most commonly accepted definitions of engineering involve the concept of the application of mathematics and science to solve real world or applied problems. Closely aligned to this definition is the question of how engineering problems are solved, often called the engineering design process or the engineering approach. Koen1 described this engineering approach as “the strategy for causing the best change in a poorly understood situation within available resources.” Another similar definition indicates the engineering approach “links concepts and resources together to create what has never been.”2 Based on the definition of engineering and the concept of the engineering approach to problem solving, engineering educators have continually examined approaches to equip graduates with the needed skills through the program curriculum.
As a vehicle for curricular improvement, the goal of an integrated curriculum has been a frequent and consistent topic of study and analysis. Froyd and Ohland3 trace the initiation of the study of and focus on an integrated engineering curriculum to 1988. Their comprehensive paper summarized a number of key areas based on the literature at the time of publication (2005) and contains references to over 170 papers, books, and conference proceedings.
Kauffmann, P., & Sullivan, S., & Dixon, G., & Kim, B. (2010, June), Integration Of Engineering Economics, Statistics, And Project Management: Reinforcing Key Concepts Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16551
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