Using an observational methodology, we studied the time and cost associated with developing and piloting a mechatronic experience in a first-year undergraduate engineering technology course. Our exploratory study included a sample size of 48 students across two sections of an existing course and analyzed the categories of capital, support staff, and instructor time and cost. Our capital purchases totaled ~$5,000, or ~$104 per student. Analyzing the capital verse capacity (class size) of our study, we found it to follow the chemical process industry’s common 0.6 economies of scale model. In contrast, support staff and instructor time and cost were not proportional to class capacity, but were primarily driven by the discrete stepped requirement of one teaching assistant per 50 students. Finally, setting our capital, support staff, and instructor costs as a function of class size, we projected a ~$4,000 per semester total cost, with a step size of ~$450 at each additional increment of 50 students.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/raj_raman/44/