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The Efficacy of Case Studies for Teaching Policy in Engineering and Technology Courses

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy Division Technical Session 1: In the Classroom

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1211.1 - 24.1211.20



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Paper Authors


Rylan C. Chong Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Rylan Chong is a Ph.D. student in the Information Security Program and affiliated with The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University. He has a Master's Degree in Information Security from Purdue University. He also has a B.S. in Computer Science from Chaminade University of Honolulu. His research area is on technology policy.

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Melissa Dark Purdue University, West Lafayette


Dennis R. Depew Purdue University, West Lafayette

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From July, 2002 to June, 2011, Dr. Depew served as the fourth Dean of the College of Technology at Purdue University. He is currently Dean Emeritus and Professor in the College of Technology.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Tennessee State University before coming to Purdue to pursue the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1985. He joined the faculty of Purdue’s Department of Industrial Technology in 1987 as an assistant professor. During his tenure at Purdue, Dr. Depew served as Head of the Department of Industrial Technology, University Coordinator of Excellence 21, and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School. Prior to becoming Dean of the College of Technology at Purdue, Dr. Depew served as Dean of the College of Applied Sciences at Western Carolina University from 1999-2002.

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Ida B. Ngambeki Purdue University, West Lafayette

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The efficacy of case studies for teaching policy in engineering and technology coursesPublic policy is an increasingly important topic in the engineering and technology curriculum asit has been recognized by a community of experts, National Research Council of the NationalAcademies (NRCNA), Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), AmericanAssociation for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Academy of Engineering(NAE). The purpose of this paper is to extend the work of Chong, Depew, Ngambeki, and Dark“Teaching social topics in engineering: The case of energy policy and social goals” by exploringhow to introduce public policy using a case study approach to undergraduate engineering andtechnology students in the engineering economics course in the College of Technology at PurdueUniversity. The course is an introduction to the time value of money and how it relates to capitalinvestments, equipment replacement, production cost, and various engineering technologyalternatives. The substantive contribution of this paper will address the following questions: 1)when could public policy be included in an engineering curriculum; 2) how public policy couldbe added to the engineering curriculum; 3) did the students understand and identify the policycontext; and 4) how effective is the use of case studies to introduce technology students to policyconcepts?In this paper, the authors will introduce public policy as a case study project (i.e., final project) to15 teams on October 22. Each team will have four to five students and will have four weeks tocomplete their project. The instructor of the course will assign each team to one of two casestudies to work on. The theme of both case studies are energy related and can be found in Dark,Ngambeki, Depew, and Chong Chapter 3 “Social engagement by the engineer” In“Understanding the global energy crisis” by Coyle and Simmons (in press). Case study 1 is aboutthe phasing-out of Germany’s nuclear power plants. Case study 2 is about the increase ofbiomaterial cost and its effects upon Eco-Energy Systems LLC.There will be two parts to this study. First, the teams will write a report as part of the courseproject. The authors will analyze the reports using Deborah Stone’s social goals (Equity,Efficiency, Security, and Liberty) as a coding framework. Second, after the teams complete theirreports, each student will be given an online link to complete a short electronic survey regardingtheir experience with the case studies for a deeper examination. The authors will end this paperwith the reporting and discussion of the results.

Chong, R. C., & Dark, M., & Depew, D. R., & Ngambeki, I. B. (2014, June), The Efficacy of Case Studies for Teaching Policy in Engineering and Technology Courses Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23144

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