June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Educational Research and Methods
24.19.1 - 24.19.16
A CASE FOR A REFORM IN TEACHING INTRODUCTORY, FUNDAMENTAL ENGINEERING MECHANICS COURSES Introductory, fundamental engineering mechanics (IFEM) courses, such as staticsof engineering, mechanics of materials, dynamics, and mechanics of fluids, have far toolong been focused on intense mathematical and theoretical concepts. Bold newmethodologies that connect science to life using active learning pedagogies need to beemphasized more in engineering classrooms. This study investigated the role of a newparadigm in teaching IFEM courses and attempts to contribute to the current nationalconversation in engineering curriculum development of the need to change engineeringeducation—from passive learning to active learning. Demographic characteristics in thisstudy included a total of 4,937 students, of whom 4,282 (86.7%) are males and 655(13.3%) are females, over a period of seven years, from 2006 to 2013. The students’majors included aerospace engineering, agricultural engineering, civil engineering,construction engineering, industrial engineering, materials engineering, and mechanicalengineering. Results of the study, as tested using an independent samples t-test and validatedusing a nonparametric independent samples test and a general linear univariate modelanalysis, indicated that overwhelmingly there is a difference between classes taughtpassively using the teacher-centered pedagogy and classes taught actively using thestudent-centered pedagogy. The principal focus of this work was to formulate a convincing argument usingdata accumulated over seven years that a new paradigm utilizing student-centeredpedagogies in teaching IFEM courses should be more emphasized, to move engineeringcurriculum towards a more active and student-centered state. After evaluating the effectsof several variables on students’ academic success, the results may provide importantinformation for both faculty and researchers and present a convincing argument to thosefaculty interested in a reform but hesitant to abandon conventional teaching practices. Bypromoting this new paradigm, the potential for improving understanding of engineeringfundamentals on a larger scale may be realized.
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015