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Teaching Computer Programming Skills to Engineering and Technology Students with a Modular Programming Strategy

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Engineering Technology Futuristic Planning

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1378.1 - 22.1378.11



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Paper Authors


Wangping Sun Oregon Institute of Technology

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Dr. Wangping Sun is an Associate Professor at Oregon Institute of Technology.

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Xian Sun Klamath Union High School

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Teaching computer programming skills to engineering and technology students with a modular programming strategyIt is important for the engineering and technology students to learn basic computer programmingskills in their early years of college education. ENGR 266 Computer Programming for Engineersis a required course in our school for freshmen and sophomores whose majors are mechanicalengineering, renewable energy engineering, mechanical engineering technology andmanufacturing engineering technology. In the course, the students learn how to developcomputer programs with MATLAB and VBA (Visual Basic Application). It has beenchallenging for the instructor to teach this course well because the students barely have anyprogramming experience before and there are so many topics to cover in a short time. After yearsof trial and error, the author of this paper summarized a set of core programming skills that canbe grasped in one academic quarter. The author taught these skills with a modular programmingstrategy. Through an in-class project, the students learned how to solve a complicated problemby dividing it into small pieces, addressing each piece by a computer sub-routine and integratingthe intermediate result from each sub-routine into get the final solution. It is believed that withthe modular programming strategy and the core programming skills defined in this paper, thestudents will be able to develop computer programs to solve most of the engineering problems.

Sun, W., & Sun, X. (2011, June), Teaching Computer Programming Skills to Engineering and Technology Students with a Modular Programming Strategy Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18625

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