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Lessons Learned from Implementing a Textbook’s Companion Website into a Production Operations Management Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Course Tools and Practices

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

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Paper Authors


John P Richards P.E. United States Military Academy

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Lieutenant Colonel John Richards currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy in the Department of Systems Engineering, focusing on topics in project and operations management. He is a career Army Engineer Officer and previously taught in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He holds masters degrees in both Engineering Management (University of Missouri-Rolla) and Civil Engineering (University of Colorado-Boulder) as well as a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado.

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The availability and use of online textbooks or companion websites for textbooks coupled to engineering management courses has been increasing. With this increase, the effective integration of assignments conducted via these online textbook companion tools can increase student engagement with the course material as well as within the classroom to enhance the student learning experience. But experience shows that use of these online tools can seem ineffective at best or a waste of time from a student perspective. Student feedback often expresses displeasure with the cost of purchasing access to the companion site, frustration with the precision required to correctly answer quantitative problems, and the tedious nature of completing assignments that they perceive lack connection to the in-class lessons. Successful integration of the companion site into the course that overcomes these obstacles can lead to students perceptions that use of the companion website is value added, not just another tedious task. For these reasons, the course director of the Production Operations Management course at the United States Military Academy utilized student assessment data, end of course feedback, and pre/post course student surveys to assess the effectiveness of use of assignments through the textbook companion website. This assessment drove changes in the implementation and integration of the companion website into the course in order to increase student engagement with the textbook material and classroom discussion. The changes focused on both frequency and content of the online assignments conducted through the textbook companion site. Implementation of these changes showed a dramatic improvement in student attitudes and performance over five semesters. This paper discusses the assessments that led to the changes in use of the textbook companion website as well as specific practices and recommendations for implementation of textbook companion website assignments. Use of textbook companion websites can positively impact student interaction and achievement.

Richards, J. P. (2018, June), Lessons Learned from Implementing a Textbook’s Companion Website into a Production Operations Management Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30763

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