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Developing Web-Assisted Learning Modules in Vector Dynamics

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Teaching Dynamics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.406.1 - 24.406.9



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Paper Authors


Paul Morrow Nissenson California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Paul Nissenson (Ph.D. Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine, 2009) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He teaches courses in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and numerical methods. Paul's research interests are computer modeling of atmospheric systems and studying the impact of technology in engineering education.

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Jaehoon Seong California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


Chuan-Chiang Chen California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Chuan-Chiang Chen is a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona since 2009. He earned his B.S. degree from National ChiaoTung University, Taiwan, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Ohio State University, all in the field of mechanical engineering. Prior to joining Cal Poly Pomona, he was an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Tuskegee University. His teaching and research interests include solid mechanics, system dynamics, measurements, noise, and vibrations.

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Peter A. Dashner California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Angela C. Shih California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Developing Web-Assisted Learning Modules in Vector DynamicsVector Dynamics is one of the most challenging courses for engineering students since itrequires a strong mathematical background, a basic understanding of industrial applications, andeffective problem-solving skills. At our university, Pomona, Vector Dynamics is a bottleneckcourse due to a high number of failures and repeats, and hinders many students from advancingin their engineering curricula. The authors developed web-assisted learning tools for VectorDynamics to increase the retention rate of engineering students through improvements inlearning outcomes for this course.Based on past teaching experience, students often have difficulty visualizing the abstractconcepts discussed in Vector Dynamics. Additionally, students struggle with relating the abstractconcepts and math to familiar situations, leading to failure in understanding the underlyingphysical principles taught in the subject. The current project was intended to help remedy thisproblem. Faculty team members created video tutorials and virtual simulations to help studentsvisualize dynamics concepts, as well as relate the theory and math to engineering problems. Thevideo tutorials were created for topics that students traditionally have the most difficultymastering using the screen and voice capture software, Camtasia. In the tutorials, which were 5-10 minutes in length, students are guided step-by-step through example problems and theory.The virtual demonstrations illustrating dynamics concepts were simulated using the softwarepackage Working Model 2D. This software allows the instructor to set up typical dynamicsscenarios and then observe how the velocity and acceleration of objects change in time. Both thevideos and simulations were implemented in a web-assisted class. Eight video tutorialsdemonstrating example problems of kinematics of particles, kinetics of particles, kinetics of rigidbodies, and kinematics of rigid bodies were delivered to students through the online learningmanagement system, Blackboard. Students were able to watch the tutorials as many times asneeded to fully understand a concept. Simulations of projectile motion, rolling without slipping,and falling block motion were demonstrated in the classroom.The impact of the learning tools on student performance were evaluated by comparing studentperformance in a web-assisted version of Vector Dynamics to student performance in a regularversion of the course that lacked the learning tools. In order to eliminate the influence ofteaching and grading styles, a team member taught one section of the web-assisted course andone section of the regular course in the same academic term. Preliminary results showed nosignificant improvement to students’ test scores or grades in the web-assisted section comparedto the regular section. However, the web-assisted section demonstrated some improvementduring the second half of the course. The long-term impact of the learning tools in VectorDynamics will be evaluated in a multiple year analysis of accumulated student performance data.

Nissenson, P. M., & Seong, J., & Chen, C., & Dashner, P. A., & Shih, A. C. (2014, June), Developing Web-Assisted Learning Modules in Vector Dynamics Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20297

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