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Numerical Methods For Engineering Technology Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Innovative Curriculum in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.953.1 - 9.953.11



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Paper Authors

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Gregory Watkins

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

Session 3449

Numerical Methods for Engineering Technology Students

Gregory K. Watkins

William States Lee College of Engineering The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC 28223


Numerical methods is defined as techniques by which mathematical problems are formulated so they may be solved with arithmetic operations. Many of these techniques have great importance in the development of finite element theory and other advanced topics, but are of questionable importance for Engineering Technology students. But if an alternative definition is considered, such as “computer solution of engineering problems,” the subject becomes much more appropriate for an ET curriculum.

In recent years, the personal computer has become as ubiquitous as the television. Today’s students are completely at ease using a computer for everything from researching a term paper to synching data from their PDA to creating CAD drawings. Using the computer to solve engineering problems is not just an easy concept for today’s students to grasp; it’s an expectation.

Concurrent with the rise of the personal computer, and its unprecedented computing power, is the proliferation of software tools available for solving engineering problems. Today, there are numerous commercial packages that an engineering technologist may see on the job. Preparing the student to use these computer based tools should be an important part of ET curricula. A numerical methods course, with the correct focus, can meet this need for today’s student.

UNC Charlotte’s course “Applied Numerical Methods” has recently been updated to include extensive work in Microsoft Excel and Matlab, two software packages commonly used by today’s practicing engineers. The course teaches the basic concepts of formulating engineering problems for computer solution. Each topic includes computer based assignments that demonstrate each program’s strengths and weaknesses in that area. Emphasis is placed on engineering applications from mechanical, civil, and electrical disciplines. Students complete the course with two basic competencies: an understanding of how engineering problems are formulated for computer solution, and reasonable proficiency in two commonly used computer based tools.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Watkins, G. (2004, June), Numerical Methods For Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13633

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