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Manufacturing Organizations From The Inside Out: Classrooms With A View

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Manufacturing Education and Outreach

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.834.1 - 7.834.6



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Paper Authors

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Sarah Leach

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

Main Menu Session 1463

Manufacturing Organizations from the Inside Out: Classrooms with a View

Sarah E. Leach Purdue University


This paper examines the experience of teaching a single course, Industrial Organization, to three very different groups of students. The first group was a mixture of traditional and non-traditional students, taking the course at a satellite campus location. The second and third groups were each made up of employees of a single employer, all attending the course at their respective industrial locations. In one case a large, multi-national corporation and in the other case a small, relatively young U. S. –Japanese joint venture. The course material covered the structures and functions of modern manufacturing organizations. Because of their different circumstances and life experiences, these groups of students had widely differing perspectives on modern manufacturing practices.

Comparison of these three groups of students offers some interesting and useful insights into appropriate teaching methods and course emphasis for students presently employed in a manufacturing environment.


Successfully teaching undergraduate students about the organizational structures and functions present in a modern manufacturing organization can be challenging. Students of typical undergraduate age often do not have any previous exposure to the manufacturing management environment, so it is sometimes difficult to give them an appreciation for the broad range of issues and concerns relevant to modern manufacturing. When, on the other hand, the students already have experience working in a manufacturing environment, the challenge for the instructor can be quite different. Students with an employment history in manufacturing have first-hand knowledge of at least one manufacturing organization. This knowledge can be a strong asset for the students, who can relate course content to actual practice, but it can also create questions when their experience does not seem to agree with the “best practices” being taught in the classroom. Non-traditional, working students often have formed opinions based on their own observations. They have already formed a perspective of manufacturing organizations and management, and they are self-confident enough to share their views with others.

Course Description

Industrial Organization is a course taught for students in the Purdue University School of Technology. The course content includes: the manufacturing environment, engineering considerations, manufacturing systems, cost control, materials flow, quality, human resources, Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Leach, S. (2002, June), Manufacturing Organizations From The Inside Out: Classrooms With A View Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10504

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