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The Engineering Economy Course Of 2020

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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

Trends in Engineering Economy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1147.1 - 7.1147.7



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Paper Authors

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Ted Eschenbach

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

Main Menu Paper: 2002-1081 Session: 1639

The Engineering Economy Course of 2020

Dr. Ted G. Eschenbach, P.E. TGE Consulting

Abstract Historical and current trends in engineering economy texts, self-directed and assisted instruction, classroom and distance delivery, and spreadsheet use are analyzed to project the engineering economy course of 2020. This presentation contrasts descriptions of what has and is likely to happen with prescriptions of what could and should happen.

Introduction At one level the question of what the future engineering economy course will be like can be answered by examining what has changed in typical course content in the 27 years that I’ve been teaching this course. At this level there are only two changes or trends. One trend is the addition of spreadsheets. A second trend is a degree of “dumbing or slimming down” the course and the texts. The course topics included in most books have not changed over this interval. Chapters get added, dropped, split, combined, and rearranged; but there is virtually no fundamental development other than that linked to spreadsheets.

This is neither a radical assertion, nor a new one. It is well documented 9 that this field has a history of examining its slow development. Texts and presumably courses have focused more on financial mathematics and removed material linked to design and decision making. The question is whether this trend will continue or be reversed.

At another level the future engineering economy course can be described by trends in the methodology of course delivery. In contrast to the course content, this is an area where innovation is very active. In fact, the engineering economy course has been in the forefront of development at several universities.

At yet another level there are discouraging trends in the role of engineering economy in engineering curricula and the licensing exams for professional engineering. This paper examines these sets of trends to speculate about the future nature of the engineering economy course, students, and faculty.

Historical Analysis of Course Content One approach to predicting the future is to compare the past with the present and project. The most accessible basis for this type of analysis is introductory texts. These texts have been analyzed in more detail in previous papers on the field’s development 9and on specific topics 1, 2. Instead of a detailed analysis of nearly a century’s set of texts, this paper relies on an evaluation of three texts. These texts include the first 6 from 1915 and two editions of the current text with the longest history7, 8. While this is a very limited set, as an active text author who closely reviews competitor’s texts, I would assert that in terms of topical coverage the most recent text 8

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

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Eschenbach, T. (2002, June), The Engineering Economy Course Of 2020 Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10092

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