June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Educational Research and Methods
12.527.1 - 12.527.14
Development of an Online Textbook and Research Tool for Freshman Engineering Design
In many engineering design texts, the solution(s) to design problems are provided along with the proposed problem. Therefore, the student will read about the solution rather than take the time to think about the problem being presented. This paper explores the development of and pilot study done on an online textbook and research tool, based on the book, “How to Model It,” by Starfield, Smith and Bleloch.1 With this online system, students are able to read only a portion of the text, and then must complete one or more tasks related to the modeling problem, then submit a response to the system. Their responses are captured and available for their review (but cannot be changed). Once their response is submitted, they can then proceed to read subsequent text where they might, for example, compare their responses with ‘expert’ design methods for that problem. Through this approach, students are forced to begin practicing the engineering design process, rather than simply reading about someone else’s solution to the problem. This format allows engineering design instructors to look at the effectiveness of their teaching methods on student design learning in such areas as heuristics, problem definition, etc. Besides allowing instructors to assess their students’ design learning process, the ‘online book’ generates data of potential interest for research on design learning. For research purposes, videotapes of the input process have been used to determine the amount of information, if any, lost during the participants’ solving of the design problem on the computer (i.e., discussion of ideas not presented in the input response). The video data has shown that most ideas, heuristics, methods, etc. discussed by the students during the exercise are included in the data input as responses into the system, making this a useful tool to research student learning. Currently, the data produced using the online text is being compared to the same problems completed using more traditional methods (i.e., paper and pencil, followed by a computer report). We expect to find little difference in the data provided by these methods.
Introduction Design process learning is a field of much recent interest in the engineering education community. Many approaches have been used to examine the ways people use the engineering design process. One of these methods, verbal protocol analysis2 produces very detailed information on a student’s design process thinking through the ‘talking-out-loud’ method. This type of analysis is extremely time-consuming, which severely restricts the number of subjects that can be included in any sample. Another method, analysis of student design journals, has also been used for analysis of the design process,3 but unless regularly monitored for content, journals may not provide detailed information about the students’ day-to-day design learning. Both of these approaches look at vital aspects of engineering design learning, but due to the time considerations for data processing and the desire to have continuous monitoring of students’ design learning, neither of these methods allow for frequent glimpses at student learning over the course of a semester.
In addition to our research interests in engineering design learning, we are also interested in the pedagogy of engineering instruction. In many engineering design texts, the solution(s) to design
Lindsley, L., & Burrows, V. (2007, June), Development Of An Online Textbook And Research Tool For Freshman Engineering Design Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1892
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