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An Active Learning Fluid Mechanics Course Based On Outcomes Assessment

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Introducing Active Learning into ME Courses

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.170.1 - 11.170.15



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Paper Authors


Ibrahim Olwi King Abdulaziz University

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Dr. Ibrahim A. Olwi is an Associate Professor in the Aeronautical Engineering Department of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He received his MS in 1980 from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in 1984 from Tulane University, New Orleans. He started his academic career 20 years ago and has been teaching Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics courses since then. He published numerous papers in applied aerodynamics and modeling of energy systems. However, his recent interests are focused on thinking based learning strategies and gifted education. He frequently delivers lectures and training programs on creativity and inventorship to educators as well as students. Currently, he is the supervisor of the Gifted Students Center at the University.

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

An Active Learning Fluid Mechanics Course Based on Outcomes Assessment


In order to enhance the ongoing preparations of different engineering programs for ABET EC2000 accreditation, several colleges are encouraging transforming basic engineering courses into active/cooperative learning environment. The introductory fluid mechanics course represents a good candidate for such transformation because it is a mandatory course for several engineering programs. The fluid mechanics course under consideration in the present work is a 4-credit, 6-contact hours course and enrolls about 150 students in 5 sections per semester. The course was redesigned and delivered during the last semester for one section only in order to compare results and evaluate the experience with respect to the other four sections having classical lectures but using data shows and power point presentations. The new course design reflected the 5 pillars of active learning, namely; positive interdependence, individual accountability, face to face interaction, social cooperative skills, and group processing. In order to address ABET EC2000 requirements, the course goal, course outcomes and outcome related course learning objectives were defined. Those learning objectives were based on Bloom’s Taxonomy levels of learning and on Krathwohl and Bloom’s degree of internalization. The course was intended to address five ABET technical outcomes (3.a, 3.b, 3.c, 3.e, and 3.k) and three non technical or soft outcomes (3.d, 3.g, and 3.i). The course assessment matrix was used to map the course learning objectives into those outcomes and indicate whether each objective addresses the corresponding outcome marginally, moderately, or substantially. It was demonstrated that ABET requirements were satisfied in this course. Assessment of active learning outcomes in that one section was achieved in two dimensions. The first was the level of confidence the students had in their competency level of an itemized list of thirty three course learning objectives. This was assessed by the students themselves through a common questionnaire. In this regard, the students in the active learning class outscored their counterparts in the classical classes in each item of that list, and averaging by about 12% higher on overall. The second dimension was the students' grades by the end of the semester. Again, the students of the active learning section had higher grades than those of the classical sections by about 34%, even though they had common exams and evaluations in 80% of the course. These two strong results put active learning as a more appropriate strategy of introducing engineering courses than classical lectures.

1. Introduction

Fluid mechanics, as most other university courses, is usually presented in the form of lectures where the students listen to the “professor” as he delivers his lecture. The students in class would probably get a good deal of knowledge and would, hopefully, be convinced with the formulas through their derivation that takes place in the classroom.

1.1 The Quest for Change

Apart from the amount of knowledge that the students grasp, such mechanism of “knowledge delivery” lacks capturing the students’ interest in science. Therefore, graduates from such

Olwi, I. (2006, June), An Active Learning Fluid Mechanics Course Based On Outcomes Assessment Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1080

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