Abstract

Engineering economics instruction tends to fall within two approaches, a business-oriented approach similar to what might be taught in a business finance or cost accounting class, and an engineering-based approach which follows the solution methods and general pedagogy used with other engineering topics. These disparate approaches can lead to different learning and performance outcomes for the students of this important topic. This paper provides a background in the various methods for teaching the subject and contrasts these two general approaches. Detailed examples are provided for each approach. The various advantages and disadvantages of each approach are then discussed in terms of their respective instructional techniques and learning outcomes. A survey of the approaches used by textbooks in the topic area is then presented. The respective implications for the instruction of the topic of engineering economics as well as the broader implications for the future of the engineering profession are then discussed with directions toward future development in this area.

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