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A Combined Vibrations And Controls Course For Mechanical Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Controls, Mechatronics

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.20.1 - 10.20.6



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Paper Authors

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H. Joel Lenoir

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1166

A Combined Vibrations and Controls Course for Mechanical Engineering

Joel Lenoir Western Kentucky University


A combined mechanical vibrations and controls course has been developed and implemented at Western Kentucky University. This 3-hour course in the senior year serves as a compromise to stand-alone courses in vibrations and controls. In addition, an integrated 1-hour laboratory section is added to support the lecture sessions. These two topics are ideal candidates for course consolidation since many of the modeling techniques are similar and the solution methods are identical.

The biggest challenge in creating a combined course such as this is in deciding on the appropriate topics to be included, while resisting the temptation to cram too much into the time period. This course is approximately 1/3 vibrations with the rest controls. This balance was chosen based on reviews of courses at other institutions as well as a review of the outcomes of other upper-division courses in the curriculum.

In order to improve the effectiveness of the course, two phases of assessment have been implemented. The first phase of the process involves overall course assessment that is common for all courses. The ME Faculty perform a collective Peer Evaluation of Course Effectiveness at the end of the semester when a class has been offered. In addition to course specific assessment, program assessment is incorporated into ME Program Outcome 1: “Mechanical Engineering graduates can formulate mathematical descriptions of physical systems to predict system response”. This program outcome is measured annually using several metrics, and this course provides one of the assignments for review.

The combined nature of the vibrations and controls course is an effective compromise to two separate courses. It provides ample opportunities for students to work on their mathematical modeling and simulation skills, and the lab provides supporting experiments to reinforce the theoretical topics. The course may serve as a model for programs with optional courses in these areas.


This combined vibrations and controls course is offered in the seventh semester. Students have completed their Dynamics, Differential Equations, and Advanced Engineering Mathematics

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Lenoir, H. J. (2005, June), A Combined Vibrations And Controls Course For Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14799

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