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Sponsored by National Science Foundation  
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The learners targeted in this project are undergraduate students who are enrolled in an engineering economics course in formal learning environments. Engineering Economics is fundamental to many engineering disciplines and all engineering majors at Lamar University are required to take this course. The passing rate for this course, however, has been lower than desirable. The challenge for educators is that engineering economic analysis is primarily concerned with problem solving, which can be a difficult subject to teach Another challenge is that students have a misconception that Engineering Economics is not related to the field of engineering. However, the survey results have shown that our graduates believe that it is one of the most useful courses in the engineering practice. Therefore, it is critical to design innovative instructional approaches for this course to improve student retention in engineering.

According to student surveys and our teaching experience, the problems faced by the students in this course include the following: 1) many concepts in Engineering Economics are abstract, and abstract concepts can be better understood if supported with more illustrations and practical example problems; 2) when students have difficulties in understanding concepts, they often want one-on-one tutoring. However, the instructor’s time is limited; 3) when students encounter difficulty following the first few chapters, they often lose confidence and tend to give up easily; 4) each student has to take several courses each semester, and it is hard to allocate enough time to study for each course; 5) some students are working full-time, and they miss lectures from time to time due to job responsibilities; they also do not have large blocks of time to devote to learning concepts; 6) when students study off-campus or at late hours, the instructor may not be available to answer their questions.



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Acknowledgment: Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation's Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES) program under Award No. 1140457 to Drs. A. Marquez, W. Zhu and J. Yoo. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.