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The Virtual Industrial System: A Tool For Learning Production Planning Concepts And Techniques

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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

Using Technology to Improve IE Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1199.1 - 7.1199.13

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Paper Authors

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Uanny Brens Garcia

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Douglas Bodner

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Main Menu Session 3557

The Virtual Industrial System: A Tool for Learning Production Planning Concepts and Techniques

Uanny M. Brens Garcia, Douglas A. Bodner, Spyros A. Reveliotis, Chen Zhou, Jane C. Ammons, Marc Goetschalckx, T. Govindaraj, Paul M. Griffin, Leon F. McGinnis and Gunter P. Sharp

Keck Virtual Factory Lab · School of Industrial and Systems Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology

1. Introduction

Recent advances in technology have enabled greater use of computational tools within the undergraduate engineering curriculum, changing the way in which learning takes place. In particular, learning systems and tools can be designed to promote active learning and engineering experimentation, to allow students to manipulate realistic case study data rather than toy examples, and to incorporate visualization to aid in learning.

In this paper, we discuss efforts at Georgia Tech to create such web-based learning systems for courses in manufacturing and logistics within the undergraduate Industrial Engineering curriculum. The objective is to create a generic software system, called the Virtual Industrial System (VIS), and associated learning modules that focus on particular concepts to be taught. The learning modules consist of lab exercises with specific learning objectives and case study situations and data. The VIS is intended to provide modeling and analysis tools, a common reference model and database structure for case study data, a generic protocol for accessing and manipulating data, and a user interface with a common look and feel across different learning modules. The goal is to help students learn by facilitating their exploration of data, experimentation with and discovery of important factors in design and operation, and gaining insight through comparing alternative solutions.

We describe our progress and experience to date in prototyping and deploying modules, with a focus on a module in the area of production planning. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 reviews the literature in this area and motivates the VIS. In Section 3, we describe the VIS concept. Section 4 presents a specific VIS learning system in production planning. Section 5 discusses our deployment and assessment results to date. We conclude with plans for future work and dissemination of the VIS.

2. Motivation and Background

Improving student learning has motivated new approaches to teaching in the engineering curriculum. This has led to innovative hands-on and project-based courses, and to the use of educational technology. While an exhaustive listing of new teaching approaches and techniques is beyond the scope of this paper, several example efforts can be found in the literature 1-4. On-

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Brens Garcia, U., & Bodner, D. (2002, June), The Virtual Industrial System: A Tool For Learning Production Planning Concepts And Techniques Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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