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Assessing Teaching Methods For A Course In Numerical Methods

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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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.242.1 - 11.242.13



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Paper Authors


Melinda Hess University of South Florida

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Melinda R. Hess is the Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Measurement at the University of South Florida. She has written and presented over 30 papers at technology end education research conferences and has co-authored two chapters in educational methods books.

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Autar Kaw University of South Florida

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Autar K Kaw is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Jerome Krivanek Distinguished Teacher at the University of South Florida. With major funding from NSF, he is developing customized and holistic web-based modules for an undergraduate course in Numerical Methods ( He has authored the textbook - Mechanics of Composite Materials, which is currently in its second edition. His scholarly interests include development of instructional technologies, integrating research in the classroom, thermal stresses, computational mechanics, and nanomechanics of composite materials. He is the recipient of the 2004 CASE Florida Professor of the Year, 2004 ASME Curriculum Innovation Award, and the 2003 ASEE Archie Higdon Distinguished Mechanics Educator Award.

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



Effectiveness of four instructional delivery modalities – 1) Traditional lecture, 2) Web- enhanced lecture, 3) Web-based self-study, and 4) Combined web-based self-study & classroom discussion, was investigated for a single instructional unit (Nonlinear Equations) over separate administrations of an undergraduate course in Numerical Methods. Two assessment instruments – 1) student performance on a multiple-choice examination, and 2) a student satisfaction survey were used to gather relevant data to compare the delivery modalities. Statistical analysis of the assessment data indicates that the second modality where web-based modules for instruction were used in conjunction with a face-to-face lecture delivery mode resulted in higher levels of student performance and satisfaction.

Background and Rationale

Web-based modules have been developed for a junior-level Numerical Methods course delivered in the College of Engineering at University of South Florida, Tampa.

The features of the web-based modules are addressed indirectly since the complete details are readily available in Ref1, 2. Stating in brief, the unique features of the web-based modules are that they are both holistic and customized. Holistically, the web-based modules review essential course background information; present numerical methods through several options - textbook notes, lecture videos, PowerPoint presentations, simulations and assessments; show how course content covered is applied in real life; tell stories to illustrate special topics and pitfalls; and give historical perspectives to the material1,2. Faculty and students are able to choose a customized view based on their preferred computational system - Maple3, Mathcad4, Mathematica5, Matlab6, and choice of engineering major - Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, General, Industrial, and Mechanical.

Figure 1: Home page of the Holistic Numerical Methods Institute - Committed to Bringing Customized Numerical Methods Holistically to Undergraduates.

The focus of this research is to compare four different modes of instructional delivery, namely

Hess, M., & Kaw, A. (2006, June), Assessing Teaching Methods For A Course In Numerical Methods Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--547

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