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Creating A Contextualized Learning Environment In A Computational Methods Course
Traditionally, a Computational Methods course focuses on skills development through the teaching of a programming language and/or the use of Excel spreadsheet. Sometimes numerical analysis topics are briefly covered as well. An attempt was made at Bryan College in the fall of 2019 to provide a contextualized learning environment in the sophomore level computational methods course that would expand students’ exposure to some highly practical and useful fields of systems engineering, operations research, design optimization, management decision making, and manufacturing quality control. The concept of “mini-courses within a course” is discussed here, an attempt that aims to teach students practical skills with wider and/or more in-depth academic content. Used properly, it could serve as another way to enrich students’ learning experience while adding width and depth to the curriculum. Learning outcome assessment results are shared and challenges in using this approach discussed. Student feedback was positive.