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An Assessment Of Visualization Modules For Learning Enhancement In Mechanics

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.156.1 - 6.156.21



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Paper Authors

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Don Rhymer

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Marty Bowe

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Daniel Jensen

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

Session 1668

An Assessment of Visualization Modules for Learning Enhancement in Mechanics

Don Rhymer, Dan Jensen, Marty Bowe Department of Engineering Mechanics USAF Academy, CO 80840


Until recently, there has been a lack of content designed to enhance understanding of mechanics of materials through the use of visualization. Therefore, visualization content in this area, as well as quantitative assessment establishing its effectiveness, is needed. This paper builds on our previous work using visualization content by developing and assessing our current use of finite element based visualizations. The present study is being done in our fall 2000 introductory mechanics of materials course. The visualization content consists of web-based and PowerPoint presentations designed to enhance understanding of specific, abstract concepts related to stress distributions. Three separate assessment techniques have been used to evaluate the new content’s effectiveness. In a previous study, our assessment produced two interesting results: 1) the visualization content was more effective than normal lecture in improving the students’ conceptual understanding, however, 2) students actually disliked the use of the visualization modules. Our current study is designed to uncover the reason for (and hopefully remove) the students’ negative perception of the visual content as well as to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the modules at enhancing students’ conceptual understanding of the material. Based on student survey data, we formulated the hypothesis that the students’ negative perception was based on two things: 1) they were not aware that this visual content would help them prepare for up- coming exams and 2) the parts of the visual content that gave an overview of finite elements were intimidating. In order to test our hypothesis, we are re-using the visual content, but are emphasizing the link between this content and the conceptual questions on the exam. In addition, we have removed the non-essential content related to finite element analysis. Our latest assessment indicates the students’ perception of the material has improved significantly in response to these changes. In addition, our assessment shows that the visual modules did enhance understanding when compared to a traditional lecture format. This work should provide others developing visualization content with important information relevant to the development, implementation, and assessment processes.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Rhymer, D., & Bowe, M., & Jensen, D. (2001, June), An Assessment Of Visualization Modules For Learning Enhancement In Mechanics Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8938

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