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The Integration Of Laboratory Based Computer Aided Methodologies Into A Manufacturing Engineering Technology Curriculum

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1022.1 - 6.1022.8



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Otieno

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Radha Balamuralikrishna

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Clifford Mirman

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

Session 1547

The Integration of Laboratory Based Computer-Aided-Methodologies into a Manufacturing Engineering Technology Curriculum Radha Balamuralikrishna, Clifford R. Mirman, and Andrew Otieno Northern Illinois University


Northern Illinois University (NIU) is strategically located between the major metropolitan areas of Rockford and Chicago, Illinois. This region encompasses many different types of industries, and thus, the departmental graduates must have a very diverse educational background. To address the needs of industry, NIU’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) program has recently revised its curriculum and embarked on several laboratory enhancement projects. In redesigning the curriculum, the department emphasized integration of subject matter and computer skills across courses. It is this strategy that we wish to exploit in order to achieve a unique status among similar programs across the region and the nation. To reflect industry needs, the department has redesigned courses in numerical control, programmable logic controllers, and computer integrated manufacturing. The department is also in the process of developing an automation course and related laboratory experience that will integrate several areas within this complex field. In the automation course, the students will look at integration of motion, vision, sensors, and robotics. In addition, MET majors will be required to enhance their skills in manufacturing analysis, thus enabling them to become more active partners in the ever increasing domain of Integrated Product and Process development (IPPD).


As Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) educators, we must periodically reexamine the skills required by our graduates to meet the multi-faceted challenges in their future workplaces. The need for continuous reengineering of the curriculum is driven by industry’s penchant to reduce costs and increase productivity in a globally competitive economy. In an era of explosion of knowledge and information, educators must make wise choices in deciding what should be taught within the scope of a typical four-year degree program. Recognizing that new ideas and innovations constantly emerge in manufacturing, employers ideally seek graduates who possess considerable command over a wide range of subjects and skills. Graduates who demonstrate that they are proactive learners and have reasonably mastered "how to learn" are usually placed on a priority list during the hiring process. At Northern Illinois University, the Technology Department is reexamining avenues to increase subject matter and computer skills integration across a broad spectrum of courses that are offered to MET majors. These changes have occurred with assistance from both the departmental industrial advisory board, and from selected companies in the areas of concern.

The main thrust of the new curricular reform has been in the area of integration of content and computer skills across courses. Prior to this restructuring, the departmental course offerings were lacking in these aspects. The older program provided more flexibility in terms of number of

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Otieno, A., & Balamuralikrishna, R., & Mirman, C. (2001, June), The Integration Of Laboratory Based Computer Aided Methodologies Into A Manufacturing Engineering Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9434

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