June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Computers in Education
14.26.1 - 14.26.11
A Different VIEW: Virtual Interactive Engineering on the Web
Virtual laboratories and modules are used in most universities to reinforce concepts from lecture material, provide exposure to practical issues associated with experiments and present visual, realistic applications of theoretical concepts. In addition, interactive simulations and virtual environments can play a significant role in facilitating learning through engagement, immediate feedback and in creating real-world scenarios. This work presents the initial phase in the development of a set of Web based virtual laboratories and modules - Virtual Interactive Engineering on the Web (VIEW). A Virtual Tensile Testing Laboratory (VTTL) is developed to be used as a supplement in the course: Introduction to Engineering Materials. The main objective of this laboratory is to introduce students to the testing techniques required to determine mechanical properties of materials such as elastic modulus, yield strength, ductility, and toughness.
Student learning, recruiting, and retention are significant challenges for many university engineering programs throughout the country1-3. Improvements in these areas have been identified to be of significant importance by organizations such as the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the American Society for Engineering Education, and hence continue to be the focal point of various studies in literature. Examples of such improvements include the identification of the key tenets of student learning4 and their application to engineering education: student misconceptions and conceptual knowledge assessment5-9. However, the engineering education community must continue to seek out, develop and adopt new computer and Web based technologies to improve student learning, recruiting and retention. This is especially relevant given that personal computing is ubiquitous to most pre-college students, current engineering freshmen and sophomores, and the growing distributed nature of engineering education.
The use of Web based technologies facilitates a more interactive and engaging learning environment. In addition, multimodal environments that involve the use of interactive 3D models can significantly improve the learning efficiency of students10-11. The use of virtual laboratories to supplement lecture materials is just one example of the application of Web based technologies to improve student learning and information retention12-14. A key benefit of a Web based virtual laboratory compared to traditional laboratories is its lower cost, space requirements, and implementation. In recognition of these new trends15-17 and benefits of Web based teaching technologies, the authors have sought to develop and implement a Web based 3D computer graphics framework: Virtual Interactive Engineering on the Web (VIEW), dedicated to the advancement of teaching and learning in the pre-engineering curriculum. This paper presents the development of the initial phase and first module in VIEW - the development of a Virtual Tensile Testing Laboratory (VTTL) used as a supplement in the course: Introduction to Engineering Materials.
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