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An Integrated Undergraduate Dynamic Systems Teaching Methodology Utilizing Analytical And Experimental Approaches

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Outstanding Contributions to ME

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.222.1 - 12.222.29



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Paper Authors


Peter Avitabile University of Massachusetts-Lowell

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Peter Avitabile is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Director of the Modal Analysis and Controls Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is a Registered Professional Engineer with a BS, MS and Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering and a member of ASEE, ASME, IES and SEM.

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


Dr. Peter Avitabile Mechanical Engineering Department University of Massachusetts Lowell Lowell, Massachusetts 01854-2881


The problem in teaching undergraduates basic dynamic systems analysis is that all of the course material that leads up to this upper level course is typically taught in a disjointed fashion. A new variation of this course along with the prerequisite courses has been adopted in the UMASS Lowell Mechanical Engineering program. An interwoven, multi-semester approach has been used and has progressively evolved over the past several years. The new approach integrates materials that are taught in Differential Equations, Mathematical Methods for Engineers, Mechanical Laboratory courses and then onto the Dynamic Systems course. Some novel approaches for presenting the material along with hands-on experimentally acquired data have been developed. The Response Under Basic Excitation (RUBE) online experiment along with all of the supporting analytical and virtual tools that have been developed over the past several years under an NSF funded project are described in this paper. All materials are available online at


Generally, students do not understand the need for basic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) material that is critical to the solution of engineering problems. Unfortunately, closely related material may be spread out over several courses. By the nature of the structure of semesters (or quarters), material is grouped together into logical units to allow for material to be deployed in a controlled fashion with a specific timetable that integrates the material in the student’s academic career. Unfortunately, students don’t understand this. As far as they are concerned, the material does not appear to have any connection to other material from previous courses. This then makes the material appear to be unimportant. Students naturally tend to hit the “reset button” after each and every course since there is no apparent reason to want to actively retain the information. All professors encounter this problem as depicted in Figure 1.

Avitabile, P. (2007, June), An Integrated Undergraduate Dynamic Systems Teaching Methodology Utilizing Analytical And Experimental Approaches Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2617

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