ASUlogoSchool of Sustainable Engineering & the Built Environment
CEE300 Engineering Business Practices
Spring 2017

1. Instructor Information

Dr. Thomas Seager
Office hours: 8:30A-10A,  Tuesday and Thursday in the University Club, by appointment.

Course Teaching Assistants:
Alex Arreguin (Graduate TA)
Haley DiNota (Lead UGTA)
Nick Griffin (Teamwork UGTA)
Joseph Garcia (Entrepreneurship UGTA)
Omar Ameziane (Ethics UGTA)
Cole Fowler (Slack UGTA)

Emily Alcazar & Abdullah Alrumaihi (Finance Problem Sets and Critviz UGTAs)

2. Class Meetings

Class meetings will be held Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30-5:45pm.  Tuesdays will be held in plenary (the entire class in one room) in LSE106.  Starting Thursday 31 Aug, class will be divided into smaller parallel sessions that meet in rooms that will be assigned after students form their teams.  Also, CEE300 employs a blended (on-line and in-person) learning model and educational materials will regularly be delivered at

3. Objectives

CEE300 has several learning objectives, belonging generally to three categories, as described below:

I. Preparation for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, including the time equivalence of money, cash flow diagrams, real & nominal interest rates, depreciation, taxes, internal rate of return, inflation, and engineering ethics. Specifically, successful students will be able to:

  • Solve problems in engineering economics related to: compound interest, time equivalence of money, present worth and benefit/cost analysis, depreciation, effect of taxes and inflation, and choosing between alternatives.
  • Become familiar with the Fundamental Canons of Engineering Ethics as described by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers.
  • Identify correct answers in multiple choice ethics questions.

II. Satisfaction of ABET accreditation outcomes, teamwork, leadership, communications skills (written and oral), ethics, understanding engineering in a global context, and mathematical problem-solving related to engineering finance.  Specifically, successful students will gain:

  • Knowledge of mathematics, science & engineering.
  • The ability to work in, and provide leadership for, diverse, multi-disciplinary teams.
  • The ability to identify, formulate, and solve civil engineering problems.
  • Understanding of professional, sustainability, and ethical issues.
  • The ability to communicate effectively at a personal level and through written reports an oral presentation which utilize professional-quality visual aids.
  • Understanding of issues and impact of engineering solutions in a broad cultural and geographical scale that extends to metropolitan, regional, national and global levels.
  • The ability to take into consideration contemporary issues and environmental impacts in civil engineering practice.

III. Professional development of the students, especially with regard to formulation of engineering problems and awareness of business values, norms, and culture.  While, most of the undergraduate engineering curricula focuses on developing problem-solving, these skills are increasingly becoming marginalized in the global marketplace, as the solutions to well posed engineering problems can now be purchased from off-shore firms staffed with well-educated, bright and hard-working professionals educated in essentially the same way that US students have been for decades.  Consequently, increased emphasis in US engineering education must be placed upon the structuring of new engineering problems from otherwise unstructured challenges.  This is the most difficult learning outcome to teach, most difficult to acquire, and most difficult to assess. Specifically, successful students will:

  • Achieve some competency in critical thinking, creative problem-solving, communication and collaboration.
  • Improve understanding of professional engineering business practices related to communication, performance evaluation, teamwork, proposal writing and presentation, dress codes and other expectations typical of engineering work environments.

4. Textbook & Other Resources

Weblog:  You may “Follow” the blog by entering your email address in the window at the right, but it isn’t required for the class.  The course schedule page will contain the reading, watching and other assignments.

Recommended Textbooks: Revelle CS, Whitlach EE & Wright JR.  Civil & Environmental Systems Engineering, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall.

Additional websites:

  • is a video sharing service that hosts many of the online lectures.  Students will also use YouTube to post digital presentations. (See below).
  • is a cloud-based document sharing site that allows students to work collectively when completing writing assignments.  Unlike WordPress (which hosts the course blog), is only open to collaborators that have been invited to join your folder.  Documents loaded there will not be public, but you have to join the CEE300 folder to gain access to assignment guides and other course docs.  Free accounts may store up to 5GB.  Students that want to share docs privately with the instructional team may create their own folders and invite the Instructors to join. Our shared folder is found at   Anyone in the CEE300Fall2017 folder may invite classmates to the folder.  Sometimes, will suppress email addresses, and several students have had better luck using gmail accounts for their log-ins.
  • Slack is a cloud-based team collaboration tool.
  • is a professional networking site analogous to Facebook.
  • is a site that provides tools for understanding your personality and communication style, as well as improving your communication with others.
  • is a platform for facilitating peer review.  To sign up for CEE300 Fall2017 on Critviz, navigate to and use the CEE300 course code CAIZGRM4Students in CEE300 will be using CritViz to give and receive feedback on several writing and speaking assignments, including professional reports and a digital presentation.  Instructions for establishing your CritViz account are in this blog post.

5. Communications Protocol

Just like many professional civil engineering project teams, we will use an explicit communications protocol in CEE300 that we design together in a classroom exercise.

Under no circumstances will email attachments be accepted by the CEE300 Instructional team.  Use instead.

This graphic here is relevant to how communication protocol is executed, and will be elaborated on in class with more detail.


6. Grading Procedures and Policies

Grading Philosophy:  One of the overall goals of CEE300 is to prepare students to make the transition from the classroom to professional engineering.  This process is called professionalization.  Compared with classroom environments, professional environments emphasize communication, teamwork, and acceptance of individual responsibility more, and assessment or evaluation (i.e., grading) less.  Moreover, assignments in professional settings are typically more open-ended, project-based, and judged subjectively (e.g., “exceeds expectations”).  Qualitatively, CE300 grades can be understood as follows:

  •  ‘A’ grades are earned by adding new knowledge to assignments – i.e., ‘A’ students exceed expectations and instructions in such a way that they are teaching the Instructor (and other classmates) and creating new knowledge useful to the world.
  • By contrast, ‘B’ students are demonstrably learning from the Instructor by following instructions.
  • ‘C’ students are typically putting forth consistent effort, but do not show clear evidence of learning relative to instructions.
  • I advise students earning ‘D’ grades to retake CEE300.

A+, B+ and C+ grades may be used, at the discretion of the Instructor.  A-, and B- grades will not be used, except in rare circumstances.

Grading System:  Grades are based upon assignments and experience points (XP).

XP are added to both the numerator and denominator of the grade average resulting from assignment (such as exams and reports). Thus, accumulation of XP can only improve student grades earned on assignments alone.  In the extreme, the limit of the student grade average approaches 100% as experience points approach infinity.

On all assignments with the exception of exams, students may work in groups and share credit.

7. Assignments

A total of 2000 assignment points will be awarded over the course of the semester, in the following categories:

Technical Reports.  Working in teams, students will complete two professional reports related to problems of engineering economy: 1) Technology Transitions, 2) Personal Finance.

Digital Presentations. Students will create 3-5 min. digital presentations using, Camtasia (or other digital presentation software), upload the video to YouTube and post a link to the video in CritViz.  Presentations may include a mathematical problem and solution or students may choose to present  one of their technical reports, or on any other class module, including the Pisces Game, Conation, and the Citicorp Tower case study.  Finally, students will complete peer critiques and rankings of five other presentations.

Two Exams. Students will be assessed on a comprehensive mid-term and final exam.

Participatory Ethics Education.  Students will participate in modules on ethics in the context of engineering as a profession and sustainability, and write several essays reflecting on ethical cases studies.

Peer assessments.  The quality of professional engineering work is typically judged by other professional engineers (i.e., peers).  In CEE300, written and video assignments will be subject to peer review via CritViz.  The peer assessments will be made available to the authors, but have no bearing on the authors’ grades.  However, reviewers will be graded on the conscientiousness, quality, and thoroughness of their reviews.

In-class & on-line participation Students are expected to attend class, remain attentive, and complete short essays in class, make postings on-line, complete assignments outside of class and participate in class and online discussions.  In this case, Instructors may include comments posted on the WordPress (or in Box) as contributing to the quality of on-line class participation.  The quality of class participation will be judged by the Instructor, in accordance with the following guidelines:

100% – Provides constructive leadership that supports classmate learning in class and/or on-line.  Initiates topics of discussion.  Complies with dress code expectations. (See below).  Demonstrates aptitude for cooperative learning that benefits classmates.

90% – Exceeds minimum participation expectations in class or on-line.  Exhibits strong attendance record, consistent and constructive on-line participation, and maintains professional standards of dress.

80% – Meets minimum participation expectations.  Few absences.  Remains attentive. Inconsistent in professional dress.

70% – Absences and/or inattentiveness (e.g., falling asleep) have impaired contributions to class. Inconsistent on-line participation. Poor compliance with dress code.

60% – Several absences and/or rarely attentive.  Lacking on-line presence.  Dress in rags, pajamas, or beach wear.  Appears on @ASUconfessions.

8. Experience Points (XP)

Students may improve their grades by earning experience points (XP).  Unlike extra credit, XP do not directly substitute for grade points  Rather XP add to both the numerator and denominator of the grade ratio.  For example, if a students has earned 700 out of a possible 900 grade points, plus 100 XP, then the final grade will be computed as: (700+100)/(900+100) = 80%.  Thus, the limit of the grade as XP approaches infinity equal 100%.

XP may be earned for exemplary class participation (both in real life and online), exceptional contributions to the quality of the class, or other outstanding behaviors, and in the following ways:

Contracts.  Most large engineering design contracts are awarded on the basis of a Request for Proposals (RFP) describing the scope of the work needed and the terms under which the client is willing to award a contract (such as schedule).  Occasionally, there will be a need for independent or ad-hoc projects in CEE300 that go beyond the scheduled assignments.  At these times, the Instructor will issue an RFP to the class describing the opportunity and the estimated number of experience points the work is expected to be awarded for.  Students may then submit proposals to the Instructor that detail (at minimum) three pieces of information:

  1. The team members responding to the RFP and what their tasks will be for completing the assignment.
  2. The number of experience points each team member should be awarded upon completion of the contract.
  3. A schedule showing when tasks will be complete.

The Instructors may select one, several, or no proposals.  They reserve the right to award the contract to the lowest bidding team, the best team, or refuse any or all proposals.  If a proposal is accepted, the proposing team will be issued a Notice To Proceed.  Experience points will be awarded upon successful completion of the proposal.

Honors students may elect to complete contracts for honors credit.    

Class notes.   You may earn additional XP by uploading your notes or recordings of CEE300 plenary sessions to our shared folder in box. Experience points may be awarded to the authors of helpful comments, or students that exhibit other exemplary behaviors, in addition to assignment grade points or class participation credit.  For example, student writing helpful and original comments on YouTube videos may be awarded XP.

Surveys.  To provide feedback to the Instructors, improve students’ reflections on their own learning experiences, and allow students to self-assess their own knowledge, surveys may be administered that award XP to participants.

9. Classroom Ethics & Etiquette

Academic Integrity Policies: This course expects cooperation and teamwork on quizzes, class discussions, presentations and papers — on which students may work collectively and share credit.  However, for exams students are expected to work entirely individually.  Students may not share any type of information during exam periods.  Students failing to place their name on their exam, attempting to claim credit for the work of others, attempting to obtain or share information, or using notes, books, or electronic devices (including calculators) during exams will not receive credit for any aspect of the exam.  All students in this class are subject to ASU’s Academic Integrity Policy (available at and should acquaint themselves with its content and requirements, including a strict prohibition against plagiarism.

Classroom Behavior:

  • It is better to show up late than not at all.
  • Students should be prepared to ask questions at the beginning of class that occurred to them as they thought more about the previous class discussion (or on-line lecture).  Class notes will be valuable in this respect.  However, students should not be preoccupied with note-taking during discussions.  It is far better to make notes brief during class, and then post or write a journal entry of thoughts after class.  Students may then refer back to journal entries prior to or during the next class.
  • Smart phones and the internet make us smarter.  They give us access to facts and information that we no longer have to memorize.  Please bring your network-enabled devices to class and be prepared to use them to enhance our learning experience.  However, use of all electronic devices is prohibited during exams.
  • Class periods are discussion-based.  Typically, some extroverts participate more readily than others, but it is often the case that one person who asks a question or makes a comment gives voice to something that many others in the class are also thinking.  All students are expected to enhance the classroom experience.
  • Any violent or threatening conduct by an ASU student in this class will be reported to the ASU Police Department and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Professional Dress: One of the important goals of CEE300 – Engineering Business Practices is professionalization of the students, which means giving students an introduction to the norms of the engineering profession.  One of these is professional dress.  Fortunately, standards of professional attire have become more relaxed over the last several decades, such that many engineering organizations accept blue jeans, polo shirts, or even short-sleeve T-shirts as pseudo-professional attire.  However, standards have not sunk so low that people can just wear anything.

The following types of clothing are unprofessional, and therefore unacceptable in CEE300:

  • Shoes: No flip flops, no crocs, no sandals, no open-toed shoes, no slippers.  Socks required. Sneakers, docksiders, and loafers merely meet the minimum expectations.
  • Shirts: No tank tops, no spaghetti straps, no tube tops, no halter tops, no mesh tops, no sports jerseys.  T-shirts, polo shirts merely meet minimum standards.
  • Pants: No short shorts, no mini-skirts, no sweat pants, no pajamas, no track pants, no yoga pants, no swim suits, no jams, no cargo shorts, no holes, no rips, no tears, no hip-huggers, no low-riders, no prison pants, no sagging, no scrubs.  Intact blue jeans, Dockers, and capris merely meet minimum standards.
  • Hats: No Hats. Period.

The Instructional team may choose to award XP, at random, to those who demonstrate exemplary professional dress. This means that these students have exceeded the minimum standards of dress code.

During presentations (including digital presentations), students should adopt a higher standard of professional dress than detailed above.

10. Disability Accommodations.

Suitable accommodations will be made for students having disabilities and students should notify the instructor as early as possible if they will require same.  Such students must be registered with the Disability Resource Center and provide documentation to that effect.

13 thoughts on “Syllabus

  1. Zihan Zhu

    I missed the Deadline of This is water eassy, I am wondering if I can get some point for late submitting, it’s always better to be late than not at all, right?

  2. Ahmed Ahmed

    So pretty much how youtube works for digital presentation, is we create digital presentations using or another relevant website, we upload that video taken on youtube and share the link on critviz.

  3. Mawi Shahin (@MawiiShah)

    Quick summary of the Taurus Presentation:

    What is CritViz?
    CritViz is a web-based tool created to support peer critique in large classrooms such as ours. CritViz will serve as the submittal port for our upcoming assignments throughout the semester. It is important to familiarize yourself with CritViz in order to succeed in this class.

    How does it work?
    After signing up to CritViz ( by filling out some basic information, click your name on the top right of screen. Select “Students: Join a class” and enter the code: JPIRIZTR. It is vital to create a new account for critviz, even if you’ve already used critviz in the previous semesters. There are 5 tabs on the homepage of the course. The first tab labeled “Course” contains the list of everybody involved in the class. It includes Professor Seager, followed by the teaching assistants, and then all of the students. It contains our names, role in the class, and email. The second tab is Announcements where the instructional team can post. The next tab is the files tab and isn’t used by the students. The Assignments tab is the submittal port for our homework. Clicking on an assignment will take you to the posting page. There you can choose the file you want to submit and upload it as well as type in a short description. Under the last tab, the Portfolio tab, you can see your participation in the homework assignments. The green boxes signify a complete response, orange: partial response, blue: open, but no response, and red: no response. Remember to add a picture of yourself by clicking your name at the top right and selecting ‘Profile’. There you can also edit things like your first name, last name, email address, and notifications.

    Who gets graded on what?
    Peer assessments account for 50 points out of the 1000 points possible in this class. Peer assessments will be made available to the author of the essay or video, however, it does NOT impact the author’s grade. Those who submitted a critique will be graded on the quality, thoroughness, and conscientiousness of their reviews.

    1. Thomas P Seager Post author

      Here’s the first RFP for Spring2015 #cee300:

      Create a screenshot instructional video demonstrating how to “familiarize yourself with critviz”, as the summary below suggests is important. That includes getting signed up, posting an assignment, posting a crit, and viewing you progress in your portfolio (and anything else you think is useful).

      Post your proposal here. I estimate this assignment is worth 100 XP, but you may propose you own figure.

      1. Mawi Shahin (@MawiiShah)

        Hello Professor,
        I’m responding to your RFP and would like to complete this assignment. I will work on this video alone and will be responsible for the video recording, editing, narrating, and publishing of the final product. In return, 100 XP would be granted if you’re completely satisfied with the final video.
        A draft of the video will be completed and sent to you privately on February 6th, 2015 for your review. If there are any things you would want me to add, remove, or change you can notify me. Then the final version of the video will be completed February 8th, 2015.
        Thank you.

  4. Roberto Lins

    The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is a computer-based test (first of two) that engineers must pass to become a licensed professional engineer. It is a 6 hours long test, and contains 110 multiple-choice questions. The NCEES FE Reference Handbook is the only material allowed to be used during the test (thanks to our friend Trevor Weihing that posted it on box). There are 7 different disciplines that the FE exam is offered in: FE Civil, FE Chemical, FE Electrical and Computer, FE Environmental, FE Industrial, and FE Other Disciplines. NCEES also offers computer-based practice exam simulating the real format, style, and level of difficulty. The fee is $225 and it might have additional application fee depending on the licensing board. In Engineering Business Practice classes, we are going to be taught about ethics, and engineering economics that are topics of the FE exam.

  5. Caio Mendes Lima

    The personal and professional development are going to be explored as important points in this class. Activities such as exams will help the understanding how to measure the value of money in the future, and also different approaches related to it. Also, group activities will be done to increase the skill with people and network, preparing the students to know how to behave at work. At the end of this class students have to be able to solve engineers problems, have critical thinking and also know how to work in group.

  6. Brandon Gorman

    Q: What are “polls”? How are they graded, and if not, then why would anyone participate in them?

    Anonymous polls are posted on the CEE 300 on-line blog. Students are awarded experience points for participating in the polls; so everyone should take advantage of them.

    There are three instances in which students can participate in the polls:
    1. Anonymous polls and online surveys are given throughout the semester to provide feedback to the instructors.
    2. And to augment students’ understanding of CEE 300 material. Please feel free to explain your answer(s).
    3. Each on-line lecture has an accompanying poll that can be taken after watching/tweeting all videos associated with the lecture.

  7. Trevor Weihing

    Speaking about box, is a cloud based data sharing network. It allows for data to be shared privately amongst group members. also allows for group members to comment ideas or remarks about any project without further editing the assignment. Box also provides administrators the ability to set passwords and expiration dates on folders, preventing unnecessary access. Box appeared to provide the most relevant advantages over its competitors such as google drive or dropbox.

  8. Ken

    Well……looks like I posted this comment on the wrong page 🙂 So….here it is again!

    On the topic of experience points, anyone is eligible to earn these points. The way to earn them is to participate in blogs, tweets, online surveys/quizzes etc. Although XP do not affect our grades negatively, it might be a good idea to earn some to make up for other points lost.

    XP final grade: (Totoal Points + XP)/(1000 + XP)


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