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Teaching SI Units in Engineering and Technology Programes

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Novel Teaching Methods In Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1148.1 - 23.1148.18



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Paper Authors


Edward E. Osakue Texas Southern University

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Dr. Edward E. Osakue is an associate professor in the Department of Industrial Technology at Texas Southern University in Houston, USA. He is a graduate faculty and the coordinator of the Design Technology concentration. Dr. Osakue had worked previously at ITT Technical Institute, Houston South campus as Education Supervisor and Program Chair for CAD Program. He received his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada; in 1999. Dr. Osakue instructs students in engineering design, engineering graphics, and drafting. His research interests include economical design of mechanical and structural systems, low-velocity impact with friction, and effective curriculum delivery methods. Dr. Osakue can be reached at

Dr. Jonathan J. Lewis is an Associate Professor and Graduate Faculty in the Department of Industrial Technology at Texas Southern University, Houston Texas. He is also the coordinator of the Graduate Program and Construction Technology Concentration in the Department. Dr. Lewis has been teaching technology courses for more than 25 years.

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Jonathan J. Lewis Texas Southern University

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TEACHING SI UNITS IN ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMESAbstractAs technology and economy gain global integration, the use of SI units hasbecome common place. About 95% of the world population is familiar with thesystem with a vast majority of this population using it as the primary units ofmeasure. In fact, the only countries today that are not fully metricated are UnitedStates, Liberia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Brunei. So the English units arestill the popular units in the United States and it is the preferred units ofinstruction in our colleges and universities, especially in engineering andtechnology programs.Because English units system is used in training the vast majority of ourengineers, technologists, and technicians, they are probably ill equipped for theglobal stage where the SI units system is the measurement language of trade andscience. For instance, when companies from different countries work on the sametechnical projects, the use of a common unit of measure is necessary. Since the SIunits system is international, this is the preferred choice. Hence, if ourengineering and technology graduates are to lead the global technologicalenterprise, they must be highly competent in the use of the SI Units system. Inaddition, engineering and technology degree graduates competent in SI andMetric units systems have greater employment opportunities as expertrates inother countries.This paper discusses an approach in teaching SI units in engineering andtechnology programs. The approach is based on a M20-50 strategy for JuniorColleges in technical and vocational education. The prefix “M” stands for Metricand the numbers 20 and 50 represent the minimum percentage Metric content inassignments for first-year and second year-students, respectively. A M20-40-60-80 strategy is used for 4-year colleges and universities in engineering, engineeringtechnology, and technical education. This requires that the assignments forstudents should have 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% minimum metric content for first-, second-, third-, and forth-year students. Challenges and students’ perceptionsbased on this approach are briefly reported.

Osakue, E. E., & Lewis, J. J. (2013, June), Teaching SI Units in Engineering and Technology Programes Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22533

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