An integrated approach to engineering curricula improvement with multi-objective decision modeling and linear programming Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/g158bp001

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  • The structure of engineering curricula currently in place at most colleges and universities has existed since the early 1950's, and reflects an historical emphasis on a solid foundation in math, science, and engineering science. However, there is often not a close match between elements of the traditional engineering education, and the skill sets that graduates need to possess for success in the industrial environment. Considerable progress has been made to restructure engineering courses and curricula. What is lacking, however, are tools and methodologies that incorporate the many dimensions of college courses, and how they are structured to form a curriculum. If curriculum changes are to be made, the first objective must be to determine what knowledge and skills engineering graduates need to possess. To accomplish this, a set of engineering competencies was developed from existing literature, and used in the development of a comprehensive mail survey of alumni, employers, students and faculty. Respondents proposed some changes to the topics in the curriculum and recommended that work to improve the curriculum be focused on communication, problem solving, and people skills. The process of designing a curriculum is similar to engineering design, with requirements that must be met, and objectives that must be optimized. From this similarity came the idea for developing a linear, additive, multi-objective model that identifies the objectives that must be considered when designing a curriculum, and contains the mathematical relationships necessary to quantify the value of a specific alternative. The model incorporates the three primary objectives of engineering topics, skills, and curriculum design principles and uses data from the survey. It was used to design new courses, to evaluate various curricula alternatives, and to conduct sensitivity analysis to better understand their differences. Using the multi-objective model to identify the highest scoring curriculum from a catalog of courses is difficult because of the many factors being considered. To assist this process, the multi-objective model and the curriculum requirements were incorporated in a linear program to select the "optimum" curriculum. The application of this tool was also beneficial in identifying the active constraints that limit curriculum development and content.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2010-10-26T19:39:42Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 SheaJohnE1997.zip: 22452 bytes, checksum: 2763e632f3e7afa529ffeac5287b794c (MD5) SheaJohnE1997.pdf: 2079238 bytes, checksum: f43aa490e9bb3651d243d8b1a58737af (MD5)
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