CD Compilation


  • Logic

MEA Description: The CD Compilation MEA requires teams of students to develop a generalizable procedure to select songs for custom CD compilations for a company called Brand New Sound Co. The motivation for developing this procedure is established using a realistic context in which the company spends a significant portion of their time trying to select songs to meet the client's needs from a large database. The Engineering Project Manger wishes to be able to improve efficiency in establishing compilations based on the client's requested CD properties. The teams must take into account the various properties of songs, such as genre, length, and royalty cost. The student teams are required to (1) develop a reusable general procedure for selecting and organizing songs on a playlist (2) use the procedure to provide a sample playlist based on a subset of the song database and the client's requested properties.

Implementation Strategy:

  1. Individual Activity � Students individually begin to articulate what factors could be used to select songs from a database. The focus is on establishing what properties may be important to the client.
  2. Team Activity � In teams of four, students read the interoffice memo from the client, which establishes the need to create a procedure to more efficiently select songs from a large database based on the client's parameters. They document their procedure by developing a memo back to the client detailing their methodology.
  3. Homework - Continuing in teams of four, students revise their procedure based on TA feedback of the original procedure. As part of their new memo, students are asked to describe what changes were made from their original procedure and why, as well as to apply their new procedure to three additional test cases.

Six Principles:

Principle Description How the principle is addressed in the MEA?
Model Construction Ensures the activity requires the construction of an explicit description, explanation, or procedure for a mathematically significant situation
Describe the mathematical model the students will be developing when solving this MEA:
  • What are the elements?
  • What are the relationships among elements?
  • What are the operations that describe how the elements interact?
Elements – Songs in the Database
Operators – Properties of songs in the database, such as length, tempo, and cost
Relationships – Desired properties of the CD the client is requesting
Reality Requires the activity to be posed in a realistic engineering context and be designed so that the students can interpret the activity meaningfully from their different levels of mathematical ability and general knowledge
Describe the context. What is the story?
What knowledge will students need to bring to this problem?
What background information must be provided?

Describe how the problem is open-ended.
CD Song selection must occur for a "various artist" CD and is based on some desired characteristics for the final CD.
Self-Assessment Ensures that the activity contains criteria the students can identify and use to test and revise their current ways of thinking
What is provided in this MEA that students can use to test their ways of thinking?
Using their procedure on the sample cases to provide a playlist for the given subset of the database.
Model-Documentation Ensures that the students are required to create some form of documentation that will reveal explicitly how they are thinking about the problem situation
What documentation are the students being asked to produce in this MEA?
Memo to the client describing the procedure for processing the database to select songs.
Construct Share-Ability and Re-Usability Requires students produce solutions that are shareable with others and modifiable for other engineering situations
What will indicate to the students that a sharable, reusable, or generalizable solution is desired?
Sharable – produce a model that the company can use for any target CD based on the client's specifications of the target CD.
Generalizable – reducing a large dataset to a subset that meets a prescribed set of properties must be done in numerous applications outside of CD development.
Effective Prototype Ensures that the solution generated must provide a useful prototype, a metaphor, for interpreting other situations
What are other examples of structurally or conceptually similar problems that would required a similar solution?
The logical underpinings of selecting and handling ties while reducing a dataset are essential in numerous applications such as search engines.

Author Information:

  • Original Author(s):
    • Ben Iverson
    • Tamara Moore


Tested in ENGR106 - Spring 2005 and Spring 2006