June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.189.1 - 26.189.13
An Innovative Redesign of Statics: Approach and Lessons LearnedStatics has been traditionally a difficult course as measured by student passing rate (thepercentage of students getting a C or better). In Western Michigan University, the passing rate ofstudents enrolled in Statics for the previous 5 years has been less than 60%. It is a requiredcourse for students majoring in aerospace engineering, civil and construction engineering,industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering. Improving the teaching and learningeffectiveness of Statics can have a major impact on engineering education by virtue of the largenumber of students affected.Studies have shown that students benefit when they are actively engaged in the learning andactive participants in classroom activities, as opposed to passively listening to lectures. Thispaper describes a course redesign of Statics aiming at improving student learning. TraditionallyStatics has been taught in three 50-minute or two 75-minute lecture format. The redesignedcourse has a hybrid style, combing the traditional classroom lectures and flipped classroomactivities. Each week the course has a 50-minutes traditional lecture, a 50-minutes recitationsession, and a 170-minutes recitation session. In the recitation sessions, students solve a set ofproblems assigned by the instructor and the answers they submitted are instantly graded. Duringthe process, they receive prompt feedback and answers to their questions by the instructor andteaching assistants. In addition, over 40 on-line videos were created so that the students canwatch and learn at home. During the pilot study phase, students were separated into control andexperimental groups, which allowed a formative assessment and comparison of the traditionaland redesigned approaches. Data from the past several years were also collected for furthercomparisons. Student survey was conducted and the results were analyzed. Preliminary resultson student performance and their perceptions about the course redesign were presented. Plans toimprove the delivery of Statics and other similar engineering mechanics courses were proposed.
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