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Active Engagement Pedagogy For An Introductory Solid Mechanics Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Improving Mechanics of Materials Classes

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.143.1 - 7.143.11



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Paper Authors

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Mary Boyce

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Jung-Wuk Hong

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Jaspal Sandhu

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Eberhard Bamberg

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

Main Menu Session 2468

Active Engagement Pedagogy for an Introductory Solid Mechanics Course

Jaspal S. Sandhu, Eberhard Bamberg, Jung-Wuk Hong, Mary C. Boyce Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Mechanical Engineering

Abstract Advances in information technology (IT) are enabling universities to effectively integrate com- puters into the curriculum. An initiative to comprehensively transform the pedagogical format of 2.001-Mechanics and Materials I, a sophomore-level Mechanical Engineering course at the Mas- sachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been undertaken. The new teaching paradigm, in contrast with the traditional lecture format, incorporates components of faculty-facilitated learn- ing, hands-on experiments, group discussion, web-enabled exploration, and peer learning. A major element of this educational reform is a collection of Web-based learning modules. The new teaching format is enabled by a mobile, wireless computing initiative that provides all students with laptop computers and a new classroom, built to meet the requirements of the new paradigm. Students were first taught using the new teaching methodology in fall 2001. This paper will dis- cuss the components of the new pedagogy and future steps in developing the course.

I Pedagogy We have undertaken an initiative to examine the effectiveness of altering the teaching/learning paradigm in core undergraduate Mechanical Engineering courses. Mechanics and Materials I: Introduction to Solid Mechanics (MIT course number 2.001) is being used as a pilot test in deter- mining whether an active engagement pedagogy will be effective in enhancing a student's:

• physical understanding of the course material (deep learning) • willingness to explore a new phenomenon (curiosity) • inclination to engage in technical discourse (communication) • retention of “learned” material, and ability to apply this new knowledge in subse- quent courses and settings (retention) • enthusiasm and satisfaction with learning engineering (enthusiasm)

The major thrusts of the active engagement pedagogy are cooperative and discovery-based learn- ing. Cooperative learning exposes students to teamwork, allows them to reap the benefits of peer engagement, and creates an atmosphere requiring technical discourse of all students. In discov- ery-based learning, students learn through a combination of physical and computer-based experi- mentation; the decision to include both physical experiments and computer models was a conscious one.

Students have extensive experience and comfort with computers, and learning using computers. We are striving to take advantage of this comfort level by developing Web-based learning mod-

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2002, American Society for Engineering Education Main Menu

Boyce, M., & Hong, J., & Sandhu, J., & Bamberg, E. (2002, June), Active Engagement Pedagogy For An Introductory Solid Mechanics Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10747

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