June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.393.1 - 13.393.15
Developing and Assessing Engineering-Based Modules for a Freshman Engineering Class
Most freshman engineering students at our University take precalculus (MATH 147) as their first math course. These students are strongly encouraged to take a companion course called Engineering with Precalculus (ENGR 110). ENGR 110 is intended to familiarize new students with the University, reinforce math concepts, and introduce diverse fields of engineering. For the Fall 2007 semester, interactive computer simulations were created using the modeling programs Working Model2DTM and MDSolidsTM 1,2, to introduce and reinforce topics and skills associated with of the four engineering specialties (Civil, Electrical, Materials Science, and Mechanical) offered at our University. A specific assessment strategy, including administration of the Gregorc Style DelineatorTM 3, was created to benchmark the effectiveness of the simulations and to facilitate their continuous improvement. Results indicate that students liked using the simulations and considered them to be enjoyable learning supplements. Students also felt that the simulations improved their confidence to take future engineering courses and were willing to use more simulations in their academic careers. There was no significant correlation between dominant learning styles of the students and their perceptions of the simulations. Therefore, adaptations based upon learning styles may not be needed for effective use of simulations in learning environments similar to ENGR 110.
Most Freshman engineering students at our University take Precalculus (MATH 147) as a prerequisite for their first calculus course. In 2005, Engineering with Precalculus (ENGR 110) was developed as a companion course to MATH 147, with the goals of increasing student success in precalculus, and promoting interest in engineering. The primary activity in ENGR 110 is based upon a supplementary math tutorial program (ALEKSTM)4, which the students use while progressing through their precalculus course. In Fall 2006, interactive simulation modules in the Working Model2DTM environment were introduced to the students in ENGR 110 on an ad hoc basis5. At that time, a formal assessment of the effectiveness of the simulation modules was not conducted; however, student comments encouraged us to implement simulation modules on a structured basis for Fall 2007. The ENGR 110 course grades for Fall 2007 were portioned into three equal parts: progress in the ALEKSTM interactive math program, participation in University retention activities, and progress in the engineering part of the course. The engineering part of ENGR 110 included interactive computer simulations, build activities, and handouts. A test to assess engineering knowledge was administered at the beginning and at the end of the course. This approach facilitated a formal assessment of the simulation models in attaining the course goals of ENGR 110.
Many authors provide helpful strategies for implementation, assessment, and continual improvement of computer simulations in basic University courses. Costanzo and Gray suggest
Guarino, J., & Callahan, J., & Chyung, S. Y., & Walters, R., & Clement, B. (2008, June), Developing And Assessing Engineering Based Modules For A Freshman Engineering Class Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3694
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