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Development Of A Multimedia Structural Mechanics Teaching Tool On The World Wide Web

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.158.1 - 1.158.10



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Paper Authors

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Kristin A. Young

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Masoud Rais-Rohani

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1668 .—-.

Development of a Multimedia Structural Mechanics Teaching Tool on the World Wide Web

Masoud Rais-Rohani, Kristin A. Young Mississippi State University


The HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is used for the development of a multimedia teaching tool for an Aerospace Structural Analysis course at Mississippi State University. This tool is tailored specifically for the World Wide Web, and can be accessed by typing the following address: -masoud/Teaching/SA2/Course.html. This paper discusses the objectives of this effort, the tool content and development procedure, and the potential of this approach in improving the way engineering courses are taught. The first and most important phase of this three-phase project has been implemented with the remaining two phases to be implemented in the future. The results of a written survey of students who used this tool for an entire semester are extremely positive, with all students expressing satisfaction with the way this tool has enhanced their learning of the concepts taught in the course.


The traditional method of instruction in the form of classroom lectures is still the most prevalent method at institutions of higher learning. While classroom lectures are an important component of teaching, their effectiveness, as far as student’s comprehension of the subject is concerned, may be less than desirable. Of particular concern is the way engineering courses are typically taught — based primarily on lectures. In-depth understanding of the physical concepts and methods of analysis discussed in an engineering course, especially at the senior-level and beyond, requires an enhanced method of instruction that gives full consideration to variation in students’ learning styles and thinking preferences. 1 However, tailoring of classroom lectures alone, toward this objective, would undoubtedly be a formidable and perhaps even an unrealistic task. Therefore, educational tools that complement standard curricular activities in order to improve student’s understanding of the subject need to be considered. A source that a student heavily relies on when doing homework assignments and preparing for tests is his or her class notes. An incomplete or inaccurate set of notes may hamper as opposed to help a student’s efforts in these activities. To alleviate this problem and improve student’s understanding of the course contents some instructors offer handouts summarizing or supplementing classroom lectures with perhaps one or more example problems. While this practice is generally helpful to students, it is limited in the way it can present the information and enhance learning. A notable alternative to this approach would be to store the information related to the topics covered in the course, with discussion of key issues, illustrative example problems, and stimulating exercises in an organized and visually attractive multimedia format on a computer that is accessible by students from virtually any where at any time. With the eagerness students show in using computers, attempts should be made to channel that interest in a way that is educationally most beneficial to them. Various methods to enhance engineering education by the use of multimedia-based programs have been explored in the past. Unfortunately, the practice is still not wide spread in the higher-education community. Some of the most recent efforts in the use of multimedia and

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Young, K. A., & Rais-Rohani, M. (1996, June), Development Of A Multimedia Structural Mechanics Teaching Tool On The World Wide Web Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5985

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