Using Microsoft Outlook For Personal And Project Planning In A First Year Engineering Course

W. David Harding, Samuel Daniels
2008 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
A great variety of tools are available for use in the planning and organizing of project work. This paper discusses the use of Microsoft Outlook (Outlook) as a primary planning and organizational tool for a first year engineering course; "Project Planning and Development." In the course, Outlook is used to manage student schedules and group meetings, to exchange drawings, agendas and recorded meeting minutes. Outlook is also used by students to organize and distribute tasks both within the
more » ... oth within the groups and between interdependent groups. Practicing engineers typically use organizational tools such as Microsoft Outlook in the workplace to manage their own schedules and projects. The early introduction of these tools to engineering students provides valuable preparation for industry practice. In addition, this imposed discipline forces students to critically assess their scheduling choices early enough to lessen retention problems. Personal organization is a key factor used to address early academic problems with engineering students. Programs such as "Success 4 Students", taken in the first semester, help students identify the key roadblocks to success. This course provides the students with additional organizational tools, such as Gantt charts, deployment charts, and CPM diagrams, which are applicable to both personal and project scheduling. This paper will discuss how Outlook is integrated into the class and compares it with other methods of group organization and communication. Previous versions of this course relied on the "Blackboard Academic Suite" for group communication. The paper also shows how an instructor can use Outlook to better oversee and manage student groups. A comparison of students that have taken the course with each method is presented and techniques for further enhancement of the project scheduling with Outlook are discussed.
doi:10.18260/1-2--4220 fatcat:ui772mzs35c2bde5t7bvwzi44i