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Marketing Based Presentations In Computer Architecture

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Embedded System Design

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.853.1 - 15.853.10



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Paper Authors


Paul Weber Lake Superior State University

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Paul J. Weber is an Assistant Professor at Lake Superior State University. Since completing his Ph.D. at Michigan Tech in 2006, he has taught courses in digital and computer systems as well as electronics, circuit analysis, and robot vision. His research interests include renewable energy, energy efficiency, distributed control, and engineering education.

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

Marketing-Based Presentations in Computer Architecture


A key component of engineering education is helping students understand how the information of a given class is applied to the current technology and applications of that field. In addition, it is also critical for students to understand the broader impacts of a product during the design, manufacturing, and useful life stages as well as how the materials are disposed of, recycled, or re- used afterwards. One method of helping students achieve this insight is through the use of marketing-based presentations in which groups of students present competing technologies.

This paper will describe such presentations that encourage students to explore both the technical details of a product as well as the economic, environmental, and societal impacts in order to convince a group of their peers that the application is commercially and ethically viable. Survey results were taken from three different classes using a 9-value Likert scale. The current research will explain the pedagogical basis for using competition in such presentations and a discussion of trade-offs, observations of how to implement such presentations at different student levels, and their impact on student motivation.

1. Introduction

It is the role of every engineering degree-granting institution to make sure their students have a solid background in the core topics of their specific field as well as engineering in general. As engineers, they must then be able to integrate this knowledge in order to utilize a more holistic view4 when designing products and systems. Such a view must incorporate many aspects of human impact, including the issues of economical, environmental, and social sustainability1 (p. 2), 6, 9 . Furthermore, students must not only understand such concepts, but also be able to effectively communicate such findings to their peers and other members of the public with widely varying backgrounds1, 10.

There are two general (not necessarily mutually exclusive) approaches to achieving such outcomes. The first method is to require students to take courses outside of their major that fulfill such requirements. The second approach, meanwhile, is to integrate such learning in the context of the technical information of classes in their own major. By doing so, students might also be more likely to assimilate such practices when they enter the work force. This paper describes such integration via presentations in which the students are required to market a product both in terms of its technical specifications and also the broader ethical questions of the use and production of the product and/or its applications.

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: Section 2 first explains the layout of the presentations and the pedagogical basis for their use. Section 3 next describes the survey that was utilized to determine the perceptions of the presentations. Section 4 then depicts the results of

Weber, P. (2010, June), Marketing Based Presentations In Computer Architecture Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16867

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