In 2005, the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU) began a discussion about the subject of outsourcing engineering offshore and the possibility of teaching a course to prepare mechanical engineering students for this environment. This in turn, led to the formation of a committee and a series of discussions and recommendations for the content for such a course. The ad-hoc committee comprised of a few IAC members, a few M.E. department design faculty members, and some faculty from the business school. The original course covered the following topics: engineering economics, creating product requirements and specifications, identifying the core competencies of a company, project management, developing a business plan, supply chain logistics/management, intellectual property, understanding cultural and language differences, team dynamics, communication, and creativity. This broad array of subject matter dictated that the course be taught in a non-conventional manner. A team of instructors, comprised of two mechanical engineering professors, two business school professors, three engineers and two businessmen from industry, who are intimately involved with outsourcing, and a patent attorney were assembled to teach different portions of the course. The students also participated in a hands-on outsourcing term project. The class was broken up into ten teams, with each team developing a product in conjunction with a company from India. Each team submitted a set of specifications for a unique product to the offshore company. The company designed the product and produced an approved CAD drawing. After student approval, the company manufactured a prototype of the product, and shipped it to the respective team for analysis. Each team then presented a report on their outsourcing experience, their testing results, and a financial analysis for the product. The class was comprised of mechanical engineering senior and graduate students, with a few students from other engineering disciplines and the business school. Based upon course surveys, this course was very well received by the students and provided an important introduction to business. The semester project proved to be a valuable tool for the students to obtain some direct experience with outsourcing.

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