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Teaching Engineering Economics Using A Web Based, Interactive Simulation

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1064.1 - 8.1064.7



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Paper Authors

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Ravi Ramachandran

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Kevin Dahm

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

Session 1526

Teaching Engineering Economics Using a Web-Based, Interactive Simulation

Kevin D. Dahm, Ravi P. Ramachandran, Sean Broderick and Chris Panchesine Rowan University


A game simulating practical economic decision-making has been devised and integrated into a Rowan University course on engineering economics. This paper describes the game itself, as well as a software package currently under development that will manage the game. The game challenges students to not only learn engineering economic principles such as present worth, but also to use them to make realistic economic decisions in a competitive setting. Each student starts with $10,000, and is presented with a list of investment opportunities. Students apply the principles learned in class to the possible investments and make decisions, such as how much to bid on a particular item in an auction. Additional investment opportunities are introduced weekly throughout the semester. The required analysis grows in complexity as the students’ knowledge base increases. The game is interactive; for example the owner of a factory must negotiate the price of raw materials he/she needs with the owner of a mine. The actual software is currently being developed through an NSF-CCLI sponsored project. The software will be web based, and will be a combination of standard HTML and Active Server Pages with a Microsoft Access Database. The program is designed to include an easily navigable interface for the student, and web based methods for the instructor to make changes to the overall game as necessary.

Introduction Recent texts on engineering economics1-4 all stress that the practical purpose of engineering economics is that it empowers the engineer to make sound investment decisions. End of chapter homework problems in these texts can be broadly placed into two categories: 1) Strictly computational problems, such as “calculate the rate of return of this cash flow diagram,” and 2) Questions such as “should the equipment be replaced or not?” or “Which of these three possible designs is best?” that ask the student to make a practical decision. The inclusion of some problems from the latter category is crucial both because they provide the more thorough test of the student’s understanding of the material, and because they underscore the practical value of the material.

This paper describes a game, integrated into an engineering economics course as a semester-long project, that simulated practical economic decision-making. Students started the semester with

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Ramachandran, R., & Dahm, K. (2003, June), Teaching Engineering Economics Using A Web Based, Interactive Simulation Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12528

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