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An Effective Approach For Teaching Aerospace Structures

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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

Rethinking Aerospace Curricula and Learning

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Page Count


Page Numbers

11.179.1 - 11.179.9



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Paper Authors

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Samer Tawfik Georgia Institute of Technology

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Serkan Ozbay Georgia Institute of Technology

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Erian Armanios Georgia Institute of Technology

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

An Effective Approach for Teaching Aerospace Structures

I- Abstract

This paper discusses a method aiming at providing tailored education that would increase students understanding of the material and enhance their success. The method is being applied to COE 3001 (Mechanics of Deformable Bodies), the second structures course in Aerospace Engineering undergraduate program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. COE 2001 (Statics) is the first class in structures and introduces students to the elements of statics in two and three dimensions, free-body diagrams, distributed loads, centroids and friction. In COE 3001 the students are further exposed to stress and strain analysis applied to beams, vessels, pipes, and combined loading, stress and strain transformations, beam deflection as well as column buckling.

The method consists of weekly problem sessions, a test evaluation concept and a tailored work- plan. The weekly problem sessions are conducted by teaching assistants. The students are given a chance to discuss with the TA a set of suggested textbook problems assigned by the instructor as well as any other recommended problems pertaining to the topics covered in the lectures. These include practical problems that are recommended by the instructor as bonus problems. The students are encouraged to submit their work on the suggested problems a few days after the problem sessions for evaluation by the TA. During this period the TA maintain an open-door policy where students can have one-on-one interaction.

The test evaluation concept provides a break down of the main elements relevant to the basic concepts in mechanics of deformable bodies such as free body diagrams, shear force bending moment diagrams or stress and strain transformations. These elements are used for an individual student evaluation. Based upon these evaluations a tailored work-plan consists of sets of problems are suggested to each student to address a weakness or deficiency in given fundamental concepts.

II- Introduction

Spence1 focused on showing the importance of preparing students for today’s work world. One of the major skills students should have before getting a job is the ability for continuous learning. Such a skill can not be obtained through traditional methods of teaching; hence “learning” should be the ultimate goal. Its outcome will be a student who is well prepared to learn and think critically.

Marshall and Marshall2 introduced five learning techniques, one of which is “Problem Based Learning”. This technique also known as problem solving learning would help students to develop skills, such as: Critical thinking, and ability to analyze complex problems, Communication skills and ability to cooperate, Research, explore and evaluate resources and Continuous learning personality.


Tawfik, S., & Ozbay, S., & Armanios, E. (2006, June), An Effective Approach For Teaching Aerospace Structures Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1265

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