Title: Teaching generalisable thinking skills using the transportation problem

Authors: Glenn E. Maples, Ronald B. Heady, Zhiwei Zhu

Addresses: Department of Business Systems Analysis and Technology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA. ' Department of Business Systems Analysis and Technology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA. ' Department of Business Systems Analysis and Technology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA

Abstract: University faculties generally recognise their responsibility to assist their students| development of thinking skills. However, as human knowledge grows exponentially, so too do the educators| subject domains. The education literature suggests that these two goals, the development of generalisable problem solving skills and the learning of increasingly specific content, conflict. We review this literature and discuss its relevance to the teaching of the transportation problem. We then suggest an alternative method of teaching the transportation problem, one that uses less mathematically sophisticated techniques but produces a better understanding of the nature of the problem, its solution, its application, and its relevance to other optimisation problems.

Keywords: generalisable skills; spreadsheet based solutions; teaching optimisation; transportation problem; problem solving; thinking skills; learning; higher education; student-centred education; university education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIOME.2006.009717

International Journal of Information and Operations Management Education, 2006 Vol.1 No.3, pp.231 - 248

Available online: 07 May 2006

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