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Demonstrations in Large Enrollment Courses: Designing for Impact

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Design Throughout the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Pamela L. Dickrell University of Florida

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Dr. Pamela Dickrell earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, with research specializing in Tribology. Dr. Dickrell is Associate Director of Teaching for the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education within the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at UF. She designs and teaches large enrollment core engineering courses, and leads the teaching arm's research into innovative educational methods for the delivery of curriculum to students across multiple engineering majors. Dr. Dickrell previously directed the UF College of Engineering distance learning program, UF EDGE (Electronic Delivery of Gator Engineering) for eight years, helping engineering departments deliver online master’s degrees and certificates to thousands of students working in industry or serving in the military worldwide.

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Ira Jerome Hill University of Florida

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Ira Hill is a faculty member in the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education at the University of Florida, which focuses on improving large-enrollment, introductory engineering courses. Dr. Hill currently teaches programming for engineers across all majors. His research interests include developing and incorporating engaging demonstrations into the classroom and faculty development. His educational background includes a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He has experience in implementing robotics solutions for biomechanics applications, including a postdoctoral fellowship with the UF Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute.

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Philip Jackson University of Florida

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What impact do course demonstrations have on engineering students motivation and knowledge? Can the addition of a few core demos of engineering practical applications influence the effectiveness of course materials across students of different ethnic backgrounds and genders? This work investigates the design and effect of in-class demonstrations in three large enrollment service courses: Dynamics, Circuits, and Computer Programming for Engineers, offered at a land-grant public university. Within these large enrollment engineering service courses our college of engineering has set goals of improving retention and student self-motivation for active participation. This work outlines the design of multiple in-class demonstrations; including physical demonstration structures, materials used, and related core course learning outcomes for three service courses. Demonstrations are designed to show practical applications of course concepts for students across multiple majors. This work highlights each demonstration with pictures and the basic details of experimental setup for the benefit of other universities interested in developing their own related materials. Following each in-class demonstration students are anonymously surveyed about their impressions and the impact of the in-course demonstrations. Student surveys include qualitative and quantitative feedback of the impact of the demonstrations on: student engineering topical interest, self-motivation to attend class, inspiration to learn demonstration related concepts further, and both immediate and longer-term retention of related course theory knowledge. Outcomes of student survey results are examined statistically in regards to results by: overall response of all students participating, impact of each specific demonstration, responses by student gender, and responses by student reported ethnic background; in order to evaluate the impact of demonstration inclusion across multiple audiences. Both student qualitative and quantitative feedback will be evaluated to gain a larger understanding of the impact these demonstrations provide towards engineering student growth and retention in large enrollment courses.

Dickrell, P. L., & Hill, I. J., & Jackson, P. (2016, June), Demonstrations in Large Enrollment Courses: Designing for Impact Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26651

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