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Developing Problem-Solving Skills in Dynamics: Implementation of Structured Homework Assignments

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Molly McVey University of Kansas

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Dr. Molly A. McVey is a post-doctoral teaching fellow at the University of Kansas School of Engineering where she works with faculty to incorporate evidence-based and student-centered teaching methods, and to research the impacts of changes made to teaching on student learning and success. Dr. McVey earned her Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas.

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Carl W. Luchies University of Kansas

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Carl Luchies is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Faculty Affiliate in the Bioengineering Graduate Program at the University of Kansas. Dr. Luchies earned his BS, MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Dr. Luchies teaches courses in Dynamics, Modeling and Simulation, and Biomechanics. Dr. Luchies utilizes evidence-based, student-centered and active-learning teaching methods in his engineering education program. He conducts education research on the impact of course transformation on student learning. Dr. Luchies also conducts experimental and modeling research focused on the biomechanics and motor control of human movement. He has studied the effects of healthy aging and pathology on human balance, motor control, and movement variability.

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Camilo Giraldo University of Kansas

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Logan Sidener University of Kansas

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Improved student learning should be a common goal for all instructors. Two objectives were explored in this study. First, we examined the impact of utilizing structured homework assignments, compared to online homework, on students’ learning based on concept inventory data and performance on test questions mapped to learning objectives. Second, we examined the effect of the homework system type on the students’ satisfaction and the attributes of their learning experience using a student survey. These data were collected in two consecutive semesters (Spring 2017: 42 students, Fall 2017: 58 students) of a required undergraduate dynamics course which utilized an online homework system and a structured homework system, respectively. Student learning data and survey data were analyzed to compare across semesters. Learning objective data demonstrated both improvements and declines in our students’ ability to solve problems and concept inventory data demonstrated an increase in the effect size in the structured homework system compared to the online homework system. Survey results showed that students in the structured, compared to the online homework semester, were more likely to complete their homework and retain their solutions. They also reported more confidence in their ability to correctly set up a new problem, in knowing the steps to solve the problem, and in getting the correct answer. These students were less likely to “google it” or look for the solution online. Our results confirm that there are trade-offs when selecting either a structured or online homework system. The design of a hybrid homework system is discussed and is currently being tested.

McVey, M., & Luchies, C. W., & Giraldo, C., & Sidener, L. (2019, June), Developing Problem-Solving Skills in Dynamics: Implementation of Structured Homework Assignments Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32643

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