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The Use Of Common Sense Applications In Teaching Engineering Economic Analysis

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

What's New in Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1334.1 - 10.1334.6



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Paper Authors

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Ahmad R. Sarfaraz

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Tarek Shraibati

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

Session 2639

The use of Common Sense Applications in Teaching Engineering Economic Analysis

Tarek A. Shraibati and Ahmad R. Sarfaraz Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management Department California State University, Northridge


Engineering economic analysis plays a vital role in nearly all decisions made by engineers. The course is very important because most topics covered in it are used everyday in both our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, the importance of this course is greatly undermined when students have difficulties in understanding the application of economic analysis to real life economic problems. This is in part due to the fact that students typically do not have the opportunity to apply the concepts learned in the classroom to common sense applications outside of the classroom. The purpose of this paper is to present two examples of these common sense applications in detail and show how these approaches can be used in other engineering schools.


Engineering Economy is one of the basic engineering courses in an undergraduate engineering curriculum. At California State University, Northridge the general engineering student population is required to take only one course in economics which is taught within the college of Engineering. The class addresses the need for students to be able to design parts, systems, processes and products which are cost effective. The course is also very important for engineering students, because the underlying fundamental principles of engineering economy may be used in both their personal and professional lives.

Students taking the course come from a wide spectrum of engineering disciplines. The use of real world projects is one approach that can address the teaching of fundamental principles of engineering economy to students from this wide range of disciplines. Students take the course at an upper-division level which enables them to take advantage of life experiences and knowledge acquired from their earlier studies. It primarily focuses on how to make decisions regarding competing economic alternatives with varying costs and benefits over time. Unfortunately, the importance of this course is often undermined because students do not comprehend the course’s applicability to their personal life. This is because students typically do not have the opportunity to apply the course concepts to a relatively complex “real-world” problem. Although examples are used in class, students have difficulties to determine the economic feasibility of an actual engineering solution. Thus, the subject matter becomes isolated and is not automatically applied when an engineer attempts to solve an engineering problem. This has also been experienced when students work on their senior design projects.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Sarfaraz, A. R., & Shraibati, T. (2005, June), The Use Of Common Sense Applications In Teaching Engineering Economic Analysis Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14850

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