ASUlogoSchool of Sustainable Engineering & the Built Environment
CEE300 Engineering Business Practices
Spring 2018

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)
Ashley Keeling (Lead UGTA)
Joseph Herrera-Theut (CommunicationsUGTA)
Khaled Albannai (Finance UGTA)
Cole Fowler (Slack & CritViz UGTA)

Julianna Acero (Projects 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 PSY102.  On 25 Jan, the third Thursday of the semester, class will be divided into smaller parallel sessions that meet in LL221, LL230, LL240, LL241 and LL243.  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.

Additional websites:

  • 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. 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.
  • is a cloud-based team collaboration tool.
  • is a platform for facilitating peer review.  Students in CEE300 will be using CritViz to give and receive feedback on several writing and speaking assignments, including professional reports and a digital presentation.
  • 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 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.

5. Communications Protocol

Just like many professional civil engineering project teams, we will use an explicit communications protocol in CEE300.  The graphic below summarizes the communications expectations by offering a guide on which channels to use for communicating different types of messages.

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

CEE300 communication protocol

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 responsibility for others 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 are expected work in groups.

7. Assignments

CEE300 adopts a more professional expectations than typical university classes.  Early in the semester, students will form 4-person engineering teams as companies and organize their learning and coursework around a single, semester-long project in engineering economy and ethics.  Every assignment in CEE300 is designed to impart to students the skills necessary to complete and communicate the results of the integrative project.

Grades will accrue over the course of the semester as students accumulate points in recognition of interim projects.

Technical Report Sections.  Students will complete sections of the integrative reports over the course of the semester, including: Statement of Qualifications, Introduction (Problem Statement), Business Model & Cash Flow Analysis, Ethical Analysis, Depreciation & Taxes, and Conclusions.

Digital Presentations. To strengthen communications skills, 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.  Presentation assignments may include mathematical problems and solution, sections of the technical reports, or other class modules.  Also, 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.

SeagerTank Entrepreneurship Education.  Students will participate a module on entrepreneurship and submit video pitches that describe an engineering problem, the team solution, business model, and team qualifications.

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.

Quizzes & Problem Sets.  Quizzes will be administered in CritViz, in class, or in Slack and may take the form of mathematical problem sets, short essays, or surveys.

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 and exercises.  In this case, Instructors may include comments and course notes posted in Box as contributing to 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, and students may be called on by the Instructors to respond to questions.
  • 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 is professionalization of the students, which means giving students an introduction to the norms of the engineering profession.  One of these is professional dress.

The Instructional team may choose to award XP 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.

11. Title IX Requirements

Title IX is a federal law that provides that no person be excluded on the basis of sex from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.  Both Title IX and university policy make clear that sexual violence and harassment based on sex is prohibited.  An individual who believes they have been subjected to sexual violence or harassed on the basis of sex can seek support, including counseling and academic support, from the university.  If you or someone you know has been harassed on the basis of sex or sexually assaulted, you can find information and resources at

As a mandated reporter, Dr. Seager is obligated to report any information he becomes aware of regarding alleged acts of sexual discrimination, including sexual violence and dating violence. ASU Counseling Services,, is available if you wish discuss any concerns confidentially and privately.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s