Teaching Engineering Economy Principles Using A Web Based, Interactive Simulation

Kevin Dahm
2004 Annual Conference Proceedings   unpublished
A game simulating realistic economic decision-making was devised and integrated into a Rowan University course on engineering economics in 2001 and 2002. The activity was extremely well received and the NSF provided a CCLI grant for development of software that automates the game, making it suitable for widespread dissemination. In order to test this software, the game was integrated into an engineering economics course at the University of Kentucky during the fall 2003 semester. This paper
more » ... describe the game itself, the software, and their use in the classroom. The game itself challenges students to not only learn engineering economic principles such as present worth, but also to use them to make realistic economic decisions in a competitive setting. Each student starts with $10,000, and is presented with a list of investment opportunities. Students apply the principles learned in class to the possible investments and make decisions, such as how much to bid on a particular item in an auction. Additional investment opportunities are introduced weekly throughout the semester. The required analysis grows in complexity as the students' knowledge base increases. The game is interactive; for example the owner of a factory must negotiate the price of raw materials he/she needs with the owner of a mine. The software is web based, written using a combination of standard HTML and Active Server Pages with a Microsoft Access Database. Students use the software to manage their company, taking such actions as placing bids in an auction, borrowing money from a bank, purchasing raw materials, and setting production rates for mines and factories. Students can also use the software to access reports on the current status of their company, viewing lists of assets, the current bank balance, etc. In the fall of 2003, the game was integrated into a course at the University of Kentucky, with 10 senior chemical engineering students participating. In general the activity was popular with the students. The game and software are currently being modified in response to feedback obtained from this test.
doi:10.18260/1-2--13965 fatcat:5rwfi6jxbjafxiljlbzokdokaq