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Using Collaborative Learning Techniques To Integrate Economics And Engineering Economy At The Freshman Level

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.609.1 - 3.609.6

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Paper Authors

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Joan A. Burtner

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Laura Moody

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

Session 1639

Using Collaborative Learning Techniques to Integrate Economics and Engineering Economy at the Freshman Level

Laura Moody, Joan Burtner Mercer University

ABSTRACT Mercer University’s School of Engineering has taken the opportunity provided by the transition from the quarter system to the semester system to engage in a two-year-long curriculum renewal effort. As a result of this effort, the industrial engineering department is responsible for designing an integrated economics/engineering economy course to be taught at the freshman level. In keeping with the school’s philosophy of an integrated curriculum, the course also emphasizes students’ computer and communication skills. To teach such an integrated course, especially at the freshman level, we needed to redesign our traditional engineering economy course. We decided to incorporate collaborative learning strategies into our revised course; thus, the course features a mix of traditional lectures and group learning assignments. This paper describes the development of this new course.

INTRODUCTION As part of the redesigned engineering core curriculum, the engineering economics course, traditionally taught at the junior level, has become a part of the freshman year curriculum. Furthermore, the microeconomics that had been a separate quarter-long required course taught by the business school has been integrated into the new semester-long course. These two changes in the engineering curriculum have led to the need to seriously reexamine the way the engineering economics course is taught. We have made three major changes to the course structure. First, the new course is team-taught. Business school faculty teach the microeconomics portion and engineering school faculty teach the engineering economy portion. Second, the new semester-long course deals with subject matter previously included in two quarter-long courses; therefore we eliminated some topics that were included in the original courses. Third, we designed the new course around the needs of the typical college freshman. Many freshmen have not yet learned the benefits of studying together as a group. Unlike juniors, freshman students are typically still developing their time management and study habit skills. We believe that designing the course based on collaborative learning principles will increase the students’ chances for success. Studies conducted over a number of years have shown that the cooperative learning approach is very effective in a wide variety of educational environments. 1 A recent Prism article 2 describes the following benefits of cooperative learning at the higher education level: • Higher levels of achievement • Greater level of academic self-esteem • Creation of more sophisticated solutions to complex problems • More positive relationships

Burtner, J. A., & Moody, L. (1998, June), Using Collaborative Learning Techniques To Integrate Economics And Engineering Economy At The Freshman Level Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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