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Changing the Approach of How to Teach Computational Methods for Engineering

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

New Teaching Pedagogies: Methods and Assessments

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.343.1 - 26.343.17



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Paper Authors


Luz Adriana Amaya-Bower Central State Connecticut University

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Dr. Luz Amaya-Bower joined CCSU’s Department of Engineering as an Assistant Professor in August 2012. Before joining CCSU, she was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at New York City College of Technology. Her PhD was granted by the Graduate Center, CUNY for her work on dynamic behavior of multiphase flows in microchannels. Dr. Amaya-Bower earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from City College, CUNY. Her teaching and research interests include multiphase flow systems, computational fluid dynamics, and numerical methods.

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Changing the Approach of How to Teach Computational Methods for EngineeringThis paper presents data using several methods of assessing student performance with the newclassroom methodology in juxtaposition to the traditional method of delivery. The implementedchanges have streamlined the courses contents and noticeably improved students’ understandingof the covered material.The pilot course is a three credit, 200 level engineering class which aims to teach students thetools for problem solving, graphing and analyzing engineering data, programming of formulae,and procedures. This class uses Excel and Matlab as the software to implement these tools, andapproximately twenty chapters are covered within two different textbooks.The following changes have been implemented in this software-based course. First, the structureof the class was modified. Initially, Excel was taught at the beginning of the semester and Matlabin the second part. This structure did not allow for an effective way of comparing the toolsbetween Excel and Matlab. Currently, the class is taught by topics. In addition, the assignmentswere modified to follow the new structure. Problems are taken from each book and thencombined so students can follow the same methodology as in the class.The next change was to modify the method of homework collection. Initially, homework wascollected via email and the student received feedback in writing. It was observed that in manycases students neither reviewed their errors nor the provided feedback. Now the assignments arerevised by the instructor in each student’s computer which allows immediate feedback.The final change was to modify the classroom teaching technique. The “flipped” or invertedclassroom model was used. This recent pedagogical strategy has received much attention, aslectures are now delivered via computer videos and watched at the student’s leisure while classtime is spent with the instructor assisting in problem-solving activities. This method has alsoallowed more class time for the instructor to interact one-on-one with each student.Implementation and assessment data for a pilot class which uses all these changes is presented.The results show a positive improvement in the students outcomes compared to previousofferings of this course. In addition, a series of surveys were distributed to obtain feedback andobservations from the previous and current students. In general, the findings show that thecurrent methodology can be expanded to other classes throughout the curriculum.

Amaya-Bower, L. A. (2015, June), Changing the Approach of How to Teach Computational Methods for Engineering Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23682

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