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Student Selection Of Information Relevant To Solving Ill Structured Engineering Economic Decision Problems

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Effective Tools for Teaching Engineering Economy

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

12.1316.1 - 12.1316.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2549

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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Sarah Ryan Iowa State University

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Sarah Ryan is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State University. She received an NSF CAREER award with its educational component to promote active learning and was part of the team that developed the PSLP under a National Science Foundation grant, pioneering its use in engineering economic analysis.

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John Jackman Iowa State University

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John Jackman is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State University. He brings to this project expertise in the engineering problem solving process, computer simulation, web-based immersive learning environments, and data acquisition and control.

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Rahul Marathe Iowa State University

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Rahul Marathe is a post-doc with the department of Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State University with research interests in the theory and applications of stochastic processes. He is an instructor for the engineering economic analysis course involved in implementing the project.

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Pavlo Antonenko Iowa State University

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Pavlo Antonenko is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instructional Technology, and in Human-Computer Interaction at Iowa State University. In this project he is responsible for structuring PSLP problems, evaluating students’ browsing behavior and learning outcomes, and conducting usability testing.

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Piyamart Kumsaikaew Iowa State University

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Piyamart Kumsaikaew is a Ph.D. candidate in Industrial Engineering at Iowa State University. She obtained a B.S. in Computer Engineering from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang and a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. She is currently conducting research on cognitive engineering methods in problem solving environments.

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Dale Niederhauser Iowa State University

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Dale Niederhauser is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instructional Technology at Iowa State University. His primary research interests include examining how people learn from hypertext and teacher development with regard to technology integration.

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Craig Ogilvie Iowa State University

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Craig Ogilvie is an Associate Professor of Physics at Iowa State University with expertise in both problem-solving instruction and the experimental study of the quark-gluon plasma in nuclear physics.

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

Student Selection of Information Relevant to Solving Ill- Structured Engineering Economic Decision Problems

Abstract

Engineering economic decision problems encountered in practice are embedded in information- rich environments, where large volumes of data are available from multiple sources. However, the information that is most relevant to solving the problem may be unavailable, inaccessible, inaccurate, or uncertain. In contrast, typical engineering economy textbook problems present only the relevant information in a convenient format. To help bridge the gap between textbook and practice, we engage student teams in a series of ill-structured problems. Teams work in an online Problem Solving Learning Portal (PSLP) that provides access to a variety of information resources containing both relevant and irrelevant information. In one problem instance, some information relevant to the solution must be obtained from an external resource that is not available or mentioned in the PSLP.

Student work in the PSLP is organized into successive stages of specifying decision criteria, stating assumptions, expressing their solution in a spreadsheet file and written rationale, and conducting a sensitivity analysis on a single variable they judge to be critical. In addition, they cut and paste information from the resources they see as relevant into a “working memory” repository. We explore different methods for assessing students’ ability to select which information is relevant. Direct measures include simple counts of “hits” and “false alarms” in the working memory that are assessed as part of the grading rubric and analyzed using signal detection theory. Their choice of the parameter(s) on which to conduct the sensitivity analysis can be considered as an indirect measure because the most relevant information is that which provides the best prediction of the most critical parameter (i.e., the parameter that will have the greatest impact on the decision criterion). The online environment also tracks the information resources visited by the student teams and the time of visitation. Data collected from a large engineering economy course are used to evaluate the effectiveness of these assessment methods.

Introduction

Making good engineering decisions is a critical skill for every engineering discipline. The complexity of decision making is tied to multiple criteria which can often be in conflict. Large volumes of information from multiple sources of real-time and historical electronic information are a source of additional complexity. Informal information infrastructures (e.g., mobile communication or instant messaging) increase the immediacy and volume of information available. Both the formal and the informal information infrastructures can drown an individual or team of problem solvers in a sea of data. In addition, information elements that a problem solver perceives as necessary may be unavailable, inaccessible, inaccurate, or involve uncertainty.

Engineering economic decisions involve both technical data and estimates of economic impacts, which frequently extend far into the future. The decision maker must gather and combine

Ryan, S., & Jackman, J., & Marathe, R., & Antonenko, P., & Kumsaikaew, P., & Niederhauser, D., & Ogilvie, C. (2007, June), Student Selection Of Information Relevant To Solving Ill Structured Engineering Economic Decision Problems Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2549

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