Scientific Program > Topic 5 > Session 5E >
Presentation 5E2. Providing "Real" Context in Statistical Quality Control Courses for Engineers

Stephen Vardeman (USA)


Presentation Abstract
Even the best engineering undergraduates often have little enthusiasm for our statistics courses. Some of their disinterest is really traceable not just to a skepticism about whether using our apparently boring methods will help them be better engineers, but to an even more fundamental ignorance of what engineers do and what kinds of environments they work in. Where a statistician has the luxury of giving a second course in engineering statistics (like an SQC course), some part of that course can be aimed at providing not just statistical methodology, but also a proper context for that methodology. I will discuss ideas in this direction, some of which I have used in an SQC course for industrial engineering students and are documented on a course Web page at:, and others of which I am still thinking about how to utilize. These include 1) significant external process improvement projects, 2) required papers and guest lectures on "current quality culture," 3) in-class demonstrations and hands-on laboratories, and 4) the use of irony/humor/Dilbert in motivating clear-headed critique of the context in which SQC methods are applied.


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