June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.281.1 - 23.281.12
Challenge-based Instruction for a Civil Engineering Dynamics CourseEngineering problems involving motion require skills to graphically and mathematically modelthe dynamics of a system. Learners in a second year dynamics course typically bring with themexperience from calculus-based physics of particles and rigid bodies in motion. The traditionaldynamics course provides students with multiple opportunities to build on this knowledge bysolving “fundamental problems” defined in the textbook. However, like many textbooks theseare well-defined problems. Our concern is these experiences with “well-defined” textbookproblems limit the development of engineering skills associated with transforming a complexand real world problem into a graphical model and identifying the multiple sub-problemsassociated with defining a solution. To address this shortcoming, a second year dynamics coursefocused toward civil engineering students was enhanced using a challenge-based approach tolearning and instruction. The challenge-based approach is rooted in principles from the howpeople learn framework and the STAR.Legacy learning cycle which have been successfullyimplemented in undergraduate bioengineering, electrical engineering and civil engineeringcourses.During the Fall 2012 semester, “challenge problems” were introduced in a civil engineeringdynamics class to start each new major topic for the course. Students attempted to generate ideasabout how to solve the problem and developed questions about what they needed to know tosolve the challenge. Students acquired the knowledge to solve the challenge problem insubsequent lectures presented in a studio format. Finally, the students aggregated their learningfor the course topic by submitting a potential solution to the challenge posed.These student products were analyzed by evaluating the students’ initial ideas they generatedabout the challenge and their final report on how they solved the problem. We anticipatestudents’ approach to these challenges will become more sophisticated and grounded in firstprinciples of dynamics with each new challenge. Additionally, their ability to demonstrate theirknowledge and skills will also be seen on their exam performance. We used the previous year’sresults from exam scores in a traditionally taught dynamics course as a control, and initial resultsshow substantial improvement.
Lovell, M. D., & Brophy, S. P., & Li, S. (2013, June), Challenge-based Instruction for a Civil Engineering Dynamics Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19295
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