Asee peer logo

Application of Computer Simulation and Animation (CSA) in Teaching and Learning Engineering Mechanics

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Computer Tutors, Simulation, and Videos

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.221.1 - 26.221.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Moe Tajvidi P.E. Utah State University

visit author page

Moe Tajvidi is a PhD student in engineering education at Utah State University. His BSc and MS degrees are in civil and structural engineering and he has a sixteen year long career experience in structural engineering along with four years of college instruction of both basic and advanced civil engineering courses. In his teaching experience he has been committed to introducing real life engineering problems to the learning environment. The subjects he has taught include engineering mechanics (statics, dynamics, and mechanics of material), soil mechanics and foundation engineering. His research areas of interest include: use of computer simulation in engineering education, project-based learning and innovative teaching techniques in interdisciplinary topics. He is also a member of ASCE and ASEE.

visit author page


Ning Fang Utah State University

visit author page

Ning Fang is a Professor in the College of Engineering at Utah State University, USA. He has taught a variety of courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels, such as engineering dynamics, metal machining, and design for manufacturing. His areas of interest include computer-assisted instructional technology, curricular reform in engineering education, the modeling and optimization of manufacturing processes, and lean product design. He earned his PhD, MS, and BS degrees in mechanical engineering and is the author of more than 60 technical papers published in refereed international journals and conference proceedings. He is a Senior Member of the Society for Manufacturing Engineering, a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Application of Computer Simulation and Animation (CSA) in Teaching and Learning Engineering MechanicsApplications of computers in higher education include online education, virtual classrooms, E-learning, multimedia teaching, etc. Enhancing learning through the use of computer-based toolsis a widespread practice. Use of computer simulation and animation (CSA) in higher education isincreasing rapidly and has become a major research trend in engineering education at differentlevels of undergraduate education. In this paper, a comprehensive review is made of the existingliterature related to using CSA as a learning aid to teach engineering mechanics courses. Due tothe importance of basic engineering mechanics courses (i.e. statics, dynamics, and strength ofmaterials) numerous researchers have investigated ways to improve pedagogy in these coursesthrough novel pedagogical practices, including the application of CSA modules.This paper addresses two topics: (1) use of CSA as a learning tool in engineering education ingeneral, and (2) innovations and teaching methods used in the instruction of engineeringmechanics. The results show that the main characteristic of CSA modules that impacts learningis their visualization-enhancing dynamic element. Furthermore, the interaction feature fostersstudent involvement, which itself improves learning. CSA modules with interactive capabilitiesare much more effective for students than instructive animations. Nevertheless, CSA modulescannot be considered as the sole pedagogical resource since they cannot replace conventionalclassroom instruction. Most ideally, typical classes combined with novel improvements, such aspeer help or group problem solving, can be complemented by CSA modules. Finally, it is foundthat CSA modules mostly impact student learning at the conceptualization level rather than at thesynthesizing level; therefore, they can be more effectively used in basic engineering courses.

Tajvidi, M., & Fang, N. (2015, June), Application of Computer Simulation and Animation (CSA) in Teaching and Learning Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23560

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015