Asee peer logo

Practicing Omega: Addressing Learning Outcomes In An Online Case Simulation

Download Paper |


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 Development in BAE

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.999.1 - 9.999.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

David Fisher

author page

Anthony Ellertson

author page

Steven Mickelson

author page

Thomas Brumm

Download Paper |

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

Session 1408

Practicing Omega: Addressing Learning Outcomes in an On-line Case Simulation

Thomas J Brumm, Anthony Ellertson, David Fisher, and Steven K. Mickelson Iowa State University


Previous studies by the College of Engineering at Iowa State have shown that the workplace (e.g., internships) is perceived as one of the best places to assess and develop the competencies we have linked to our program student outcomes. The challenge we have undertaken is to craft educational experiences on campus that are more meaningful and that relate directly to workplace experiences. One effort has been a technical writing course, collaboratively developed with the Department of English, offered exclusively to students from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. We created a real-world case simulation of a biotechnology company, Omega Molecular, in which the students were employees. An on-line database provided company history, policies, memos, emails, and product data. “Employees” were charged with the task of developing technical reports in a virtual corporate environment that forced them to consider ethical and personnel issues. Students had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate these competencies which are linked to the ABET Criterion 3(g) communication outcome: communication, general knowledge, initiative, customer focus, and professional impact. This paper discusses the collaboration that took place to create the course, the infrastructure developed to deliver the course, student participation and learning, and an assessment of the student experience.


Students in the 21st century come to the university expecting to receive a learning experience in which they are challenged to grow as individuals. A common criticism, however, is that once at the university, their teachers rely too heavily on lectures and workbook exercises, spoon-feeding them information in a pipeline model of communication which places the teacher in the role of “expert” and student in the role of “passive receiver” of knowledge. In such a situation, the danger is that students become less self-directed and engaged in their learning, consequently coming to see their university experience as being one of less engagement with both faculty and the subject [1, p.5]. Johnson, Johnson & Smith point out that traditionally, education works to compartmentalize faculty and students, where students are considered interchangeable parts in an “education machine.”[2]. Fink argues that “If higher education hopes to craft a more meaningful way of educating students, then college professors will need to think a new and better way of teaching, one that focuses on the quality of student learning” [1, p. 27].

We believe that the new ABET 2000 Criteria [3] provide us with pedagogical opportunities for crafting educational experiences that are more meaningful. However, given the constraints of the modern classroom and available resources (budgets, technology, time, staff support, etc.), a major challenge for engineering faculty is to create learning experiences that address multiple student outcomes. This challenge is especially critical when experiential opportunities (internships and cooperative employment) may not be as available as in the past. To address

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

Fisher, D., & Ellertson, A., & Mickelson, S., & Brumm, T. (2004, June), Practicing Omega: Addressing Learning Outcomes In An Online Case Simulation Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13581

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015