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A Web Based Interactive Problem Solver For Enhancing Learning In Engineering Mechanics

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.75.1 - 5.75.12

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Paper Authors

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Hajrudin Pasic

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Gregory G. Kremer

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Bhavin V. Mehta

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

Session 1368

A Web-based Interactive Problem Solver for Enhancing Learning in Engineering Mechanics Gregory G. Kremer, Hajrudin Pasic, Bhavin V. Mehta Ohio University


Many entry-level engineering students arrive at the Engineering Mechanics courses deficient in the rigorous problem solving skills that are required for success in the engineering curriculum. Additionally, many students have difficulties visualizing the motions and evaluating the physical realism of their numerical results. The standard lecture/homework/exam course setup does not compensate for these student deficiencies, leading to a situation where some students just “get through” the engineering mechanics courses without developing a real “feel” for dynamics. Further, the focus of Engineering Mechanics textbooks on simplified problems that can be solved by hand does not truly prepare students to solve real-world dynamics problems. We believe that a student-centered learning environment would be a valuable addition to entry-level engineering courses, and that this learning environment should be problem-based for motivational purposes, should involve interactive visual displays of inputs and outputs to improve visualization skills, and should stress active learning paired with forced reflection to increase student understanding of good problem-solving methods. This paper describes an ongoing process of course and curricular review that has resulted in the development of a web-based learning environment (the Interactive Problem Solver) to supplement traditional instructional methods in an undergraduate Dynamics course. The Interactive Problem Solver, which is still under development, is being designed 1) to help students learn (and practice) rigorous problem solving skills, 2) to help students develop an ability to understand and evaluate mathematical models and results in the context of physical reality, and 3) to provide a forum for instructors to evaluate the impact of various features of a learning environment on student learning of tasks (problem solving skills) and concepts.

I. Introduction

One of the benefits of ABET EC2000 which will be realized long before most schools actually go through the new accreditation procedure is that it forces departments to do a critical review of their courses and curricula. In the Mechanical Engineering Department at Ohio University we are in the process of an internal review of our curriculum and courses, including reexamining course objectives and conducting student and faculty assessments of how well the current courses fulfill the learning objectives.

The Engineering Mechanics classes (Statics and Dynamics) serve as the gateway into the engineering curriculum, and as such they have a large impact on an engineering student’s

Pasic, H., & Kremer, G. G., & Mehta, B. V. (2000, June), A Web Based Interactive Problem Solver For Enhancing Learning In Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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