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Asynchronous Computer Based Training As A Means Of Integrating The Use Of Engineering Software Into The Curriculum

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Web Education: Delivery and Evaluation

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.249.1 - 8.249.12



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Paper Authors

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Robert Freeman

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Arturo Fuentes

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Stephen Crown

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

Asynchronous Computer Based Training as a Means of Integrating the Use of Engineering Software into the Curriculum

Stephen W. Crown Robert A. Freeman Arturo Fuentes Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Texas – Pan American

Abstract: The continuous growth in the use of engineering software in the practice of engineering has impacted engineering education. Graduates are increasingly expected to be familiar with several engineering software packages. Although the use of engineering software has allowed for the removal of some course content, there is still not adequate time to teach the use of software in the classroom. The use of asynchronous computer based training provides an effective means of instruction of engineering software that is self paced and does not take away from class time used to cover theory and fundamentals. Students react positively to the computer based instruction since it can be accessed on their schedule, at their own pace, and repeated as necessary. Obstacles to the development of materials have been overcome through the use of inexpensive screen capture software that is easy to use and can be produced in minutes. Such software has been used in Mechanical Engineering to teach Pro-Engineer in a Freshman Engineering Graphics course, MathCAD and Working Model in a Kinematics and Dynamics course, LabView in a Measurements and Instrumentation course, and is being developed for teaching Visual Nastran in a Finite Elements course. The initial impact of introducing asynchronous computer based training in each course is discussed in addition to the methods used to develop materials. A web-based faculty development resource is described that is available to assist in the development of like materials and as a repository for developed materials.

INTRODUCTION Engineering education faces a new challenge with the growing power and propensity of computers. Engineering software is readily available that allow for design, simulation, analysis, and control that push the capabilities of a trained engineer to new heights. The power of these new tools has become such that it is hard to imagine the practice of engineering without them. While these new tools have lessened the importance of some engineering content the majority of the engineering curriculum has been unaffected. Although students need to be familiar with the new software it cannot come at the expense of a solid understanding of the fundamentals of key topics taught in the classroom. If significant time cannot be diverted for the teaching of software in the classroom other methods must be used.

Asynchronous computer based training gives a powerful alternative to classroom instruction for the teaching of engineering software. The teaching of core engineering principles requires interpretation and a developed understanding that generally requires discussion with the instructor. The learning of engineering software however is more easily adapted to computer- based training. One of the key advantages of computer-based training is that the training and student interaction with the software occurs on the same platform. The use of asynchronous

Freeman, R., & Fuentes, A., & Crown, S. (2003, June), Asynchronous Computer Based Training As A Means Of Integrating The Use Of Engineering Software Into The Curriculum Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12053

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