Dr. Mark Angolia is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in the Department of Industrial Distribution and Logistics at the ECU College of Engineering and Technology at East Carolina University. Before joining academia, he worked in the automobile supply chain for 20 years. He primarily researches enterprise resource planning and project management and has been using ERPsim for over a decade.
Using ERPsim in Class
He has been using the different ERPsim games in logistic and distribution-related classes for undergraduate students and industry professionals. The use of ERPsim has been very effective for taking undergraduate students through the business and supply chain steps and teaching them the fundamentals of the related business processes.
In addition to using the simulation, Dr. Angolia has also taken advantage of the data export functionality. He uses it to teach his students the fundamentals of analytical tools and poses standalone assignments based on the collected data. Analyzing the data has been really helpful for his working adult students as they realized where the data they were using originated.
Dr. Angolia teaches both face to face and online, using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous methods. When he teaches online, he starts his first week synchronously to showcase the interface, and execute the initial game steps together live with his students. Then, he alternates between asynchronous gameplay and synchronous classes, where the collected data is reviewed and the next steps prepared. Those iterative sessions are there to analyze each team's states and diagnose what adjustments they need to make.
Dr. Angolia credits his students based on how they perform inside each round and during the whole game. He includes per-round credits because some of his students tend not to listen to instructions and make their companies suffer financially before the end of the game, so per-round competition allows them to remain engaged.
He has found that the active learning benefits of ERPsim can’t be understated. The competitive nature of ERPsim enables his students to both feel motivated and learn about the business processes and related tools.
The biggest challenge he has faced teaching with ERPsim is to motivate students to do the training and allow them to go through the learning curve. Once they know how to run the game, the competition is usually enough to keep them motivated.
When teaching asynchronously online, publish the game schedule ahead of time. It helps students plan what they will have to do each day.
Dedicate one team to yourself, the professor.
Students like the challenge of beating the professor, and it helps with demonstrations.
Keep a daily written set of what you do. It will be helpful for the next semester to remember specific nuances and create a template.
Using ERPsim in Research
Dr. Angolia has written a few journal and conference papers about SAP University Alliance and ERPsim. His most important paper was about whether to use a simulation software at the beginning or the end of a semester. He found that using a simulation from the beginning of the semesters enabled students to better grasp theoretical concepts if they have seen them in practice beforehand as it encourages an active learning experience.
The hardest part about publishing with ERPsim research was overcoming peer bias. Reviewers were concerned he was writing white papers to promote SAP and ERPsim rather than the pedagogical benefits of the simulations.
Using a Paper-based Supply Chain Game to Introduce Blockchain Concepts.In 2020 ASEE Annual Virtual Conference (p. 12). virtual: American Society for Engineering Education.
A Case for Early Semester Utilization of Business Simulations.Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 11(1), 90–101.
Experiential Learning for Logistics and Supply Chain Management Using an SAP ERP Software Simulation.Decision Sciences: Journal of Innovative Education, 16(2), 22.
Enhancing Industrial and Systems Engineering Education through Academic- Industry Alliances.In 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
Point-and-Click Pedagogy: Is it Effective for Teaching Information Technology?Journal of Information Technology Education.