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Teaching Process Design Using Virtual Reality

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Industrial Engineers Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1090.1 - 7.1090.11



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Paper Authors

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Vis Madhavan

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Janet Twomey

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Don Malzahn

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Lawrence Whitman

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

Main Menu Session 2257

Teaching Process Design using Virtual Reality

Larry Whitman, Ph.D., P.E., Vis Madhavan, Ph.D., Don Malzahn, Ph.D., Janet Twomey, Ph.D.

Wichita State University


Virtual reality can be used to configure and build detailed models of factories that can serve as the framework for the cases derived from real-life situations. This paper presents how a model developed from a Boeing manufacturing cell was used to teach activity and process modeling, analysis, and design.


Process modeling is typically taught through theory with a few examples. However, it is difficult to provide students with non-trivial examples. The preferred method for industry-based student experience is to provide real-life situations that the student must model, which results in an active learning knowledge construction approach. This method also has drawbacks in establishing contacts and ensuring the students have sufficient access to develop the models. By utilizing a virtual model of an actual Boeing line, students are able to view the process and interrogate the process details. The instructor also has “complete” knowledge of the process as the instructor was the process designer. This ensures that the process has all the desired features to be modeled and allows students to review and correct errors under expert guidance.

The Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department at Wichita State University is developing an integrated set of virtual reality models of a manufacturing line at Boeing Wichita. This mega-case will be used throughout the curriculum to vertically integrate the concepts across the curriculum and provide a situated learning experience for our students. This large-scale virtual reality factory modeling effort, “Innovation in Aircraft Manufacturing through System- Wide Virtual Reality Models and Curriculum Integration” has recently been funded by the National Science Foundation through the Partners for Innovation program (

The objectives of this project are to: • Foment the use of integrated virtual reality models of manufacturing systems by our partners to design, improve, and operate these systems. • Teach the workforce (new graduates as well as industrial personnel), using the same integrated virtual reality models, to understand the systems they work with both at the global and local levels and to serve as intelligent initiators and partners for change.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Madhavan, V., & Twomey, J., & Malzahn, D., & Whitman, L. (2002, June), Teaching Process Design Using Virtual Reality Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10965

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