Development of a Systems Engineering Education Module for Undergraduates
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Development of a Systems Engineering Education Module for Undergraduates

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  • English

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    • Edition:
      Final Report October 1998-September 1999
    • Abstract:
      Professional capacity building (PCB) throughout the transportation profession is critical to the success of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) nationwide. The purpose of this study was to develop a systems engineering educational module that could easily fit within any existing transportation undergraduate course or appropriate technical course in other engineering disciplines. Based on a previous case study analysis of specific job roles and tasks of staff from the various agencies that work at Houston TranStar, the project team determined that the educational module would have three objectives. These objectives are to provide a definition of systems engineering; discuss its importance with respect to ITS; and provide basic exercises that introduce the concept of systems engineering and begin to develop skills in that arena. The visual aids, lecture notes, and exercise developed for this module were created from a variety of sources including textbooks, reports, workshops, transportation course materials, Internet sites, and other sources containing related information that was pertinent to the objectives of the module. Visual aids were developed, modified, and updated to target an undergraduate engineering audience. The results presented in this report address an educational need of the transportation profession. While the focus was on the staff needs within Houston TranStar, the systems engineering objectives the module addresses are needed across the country. The educational module can easily be incorporated into any undergraduate engineering program, transportation or otherwise, to increase awareness and understanding of systems engineering and to encourage students to pursue transportation as a career. Furthermore, the material can be used in non-engineering arenas to increase awareness of transportation as a viable career choice for the wide variety of individuals with technical backgrounds necessary to operate and maintain the complex technologies being used in our cities to make transportation more safe and efficient. Thus, this module works to meet the goals and objectives of the national PCB program, especially as they relate to educating the future professionals who will design, build, operate, manage, and maintain the transportation system.
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