June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
In an era of declining university resources, many engineering programs are turning to interactive, online homework systems as a means of providing immediate feedback to students without costing excessive time and effort from faculty or teaching assistants. Unfortunately, the experience the authors have had with online homework systems provided by textbook publishers has been disappointing, including issues such as errors in the embedded solutions and sparse or incomplete coverage of textbook content. Also, access to such systems often requires an additional expense incurred by students.
The authors have developed a new suite of problems for use in an Advanced Mechanics of Materials course intended for Mechanical Engineering students. These problems have been developed in a free, open-source interactive homework delivery system called WeBWorK, a tool that has been adopted by over 1,000 mathematics departments worldwide. The authors’ institution has extensive experience using this system for mathematics and has developed, adopted, and published a suite of problems in WeBWorK for its integrated sophomore sequence of engineering courses – Circuits, Statics and Mechanics of Materials, and Thermodynamics.
This paper describes the WeBWorK system and outlines the breadth and depth of the problem suite that has been created for Advanced Mechanics of Materials. Among the topics covered are: material processing, properties and selection, numerous three-dimensional structures, combined loading and resulting stresses, static failure theories, fatigue analysis and design, and many others. Guidance is also included for faculty interested in adopting WeBWorK for their courses.
A preliminary study of the effectiveness of the new problem suite is also presented. Four homework sets were selected for the study. For each homework set, the class was divided into two groups randomly; one group of students was given access to the system, and the other was given the same problems in a paper-only format. All students were then given the same quiz so that possible differences in learning between the two groups could be identified. Students were also surveyed to gather their opinions on the new suite and its effectiveness in helping them learn the course material. The results of this preliminary study are presented and discussed.
Swanbom, M. K., & Collins, M. G. C., & Evans, K. (2017, June), Development and Preliminary Assessment of an Open-source, Online Homework Suite for Advanced Mechanics of Materials using WeBWorK Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28156
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