Asee peer logo

Active Learning Strategies To Enhance Learning In A Civil Engineering Graduate Vibrations Course

Download Paper |

Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Teaching Mechanics of Materials & General Mechanics

Tagged Division

Mechanics

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

15.120.1 - 15.120.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16669

Download Count

100

Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Luciana Barroso Texas A&M University

Download Paper |

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

Active Learning Strategies to Enhance Learning in a Civil Engineering Graduate Vibrations Course Abstract

This paper presents a first-semester graduate level course in structural dynamics that utilizes active learning as a mechanism to address 1) higher expectations of learning, 2) varying levels or academic background and preparation, and 3) diverse cultural backgrounds. Active learning strategies used include cooperative learning, both as a full class and in small groups, and problem- and project-based learning experiences (PBL). When the full class cooperates in solving a problem, all students get exposed to the different possible solution strategies for tackling a problem. Small groups allow students who may be hesitant to ask questions in front of the entire class an opportunity to ask questions of their peers or even of the instructor in a more private setting. The use of PBL reinforces the concept that multiple strategies for approaching a problem are possible. Students are asked to produce a specific outcome, such as the development of a reduced order model, but they are not told what method or approach to use for this process. At the end, the students must evaluate the consequences of the choices made during the project process.

Introduction

As students enter a graduate engineering program, they are expected to have a higher degree of independence and self-motivation than the average undergraduate student. Students are expected to have a greater depth of understanding of the material and be able to synthesize material from various courses to develop their own solution approaches to tackle new problems, and to evaluate and make decisions based on their analyses.

The students entering the graduate program come from a variety of cultural and academic backgrounds. In a traditional lecture class format, this diversity can make it difficult for the professor to target lectures so that all students gain the most from the experience. Cultural differences may cause some students to hesitate in asking questions during (or after) lecture, while differences in academic background mean students have been exposed to different methods to solve the same problem.

This paper presents a first-semester graduate level course in structural dynamics that utilizes active learning as a mechanism to address these issues. Active learning strategies used include cooperative learning, both as a full class and in small groups, and problem- and project-based learning experiences (PBL). When the full class cooperates in solving a problem, all students get exposed to the different possible solution strategies for tackling a problem. Small groups allow students who may be hesitant to ask questions in front of the entire class an opportunity to ask questions of their peers or even of the instructor in a more private setting. The use of PBL reinforces the concept that multiple strategies for approaching a problem are possible. Students are asked to produce a specific outcome, such as the development of a reduced order model, but they are not told what method or approach to use for this process. At the end, the students must evaluate the consequences of the choices made during the project process.

Barroso, L. (2010, June), Active Learning Strategies To Enhance Learning In A Civil Engineering Graduate Vibrations Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16669

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: © 2010 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