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A. Karim

Queensland University of Technology (AUSTRALIA)
Operations management is an area concerned with the production of goods and services ensuring that business operations are efficient in utilizing resource and effective to meet customer requirements. It deals with the design and management of products, processes, services and supply chains and considers the acquisition, development, and effective and efficient utilization of resources. Unlike other engineering subjects, content of these units could be very wide and vast. It is therefore necessary to cover the content that is most related to the contemporary industries. It is also necessary to understand what engineering management skills are critical for engineers working in the contemporary organisations. Most of the operations management books contain traditional Operations Management techniques. For example ‘inventory management’ is an important topic in operations management. All OM books deal with effective method of inventory management. However, new trend in OM is Just in time (JIT) delivery or minimization of inventory. It is therefore important to decide whether to emphasise on keeping inventory (as suggested by most books) or minimization of inventory. Similarly, for OM decisions like forecasting, optimization and linear programming most organisations now a days use software. Now it is important for us to determine whether some of these software need to be introduced in tutorial/ lab classes. If so, what software?

It is established in the Teaching and Learning literature that there must be a strong alignment between unit objectives, assessment and learning activities to engage students in learning. Literature also established that engaging students is vital for learning. However, engineering units (more specifically engineering management) is quite different from other majors. Only alignment between objectives, assessment and learning activities cannot guarantee student engagement. Unit content must be practical oriented and skills to be developed should be those demanded by the industry. A survey among students showed that more than 80% students suggested that they would prefer the units to be more industry oriented. They also suggested that they will be more interested to the learning if they see better link between the unit and real life work. It is therefore important that student feedback is taken into consideration which would result in better student engagement.

Present research, using a multi-method research approach, redesigned the operations management content based on latest developments in Engineering Management area and the necessity of Australian industries. The redesigned unit has significantly helped better student engagement and better learning. It was found that students are engaged in the learning if they find the contents are helpful in developing skills that are necessary in their practical life.