June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.538.1 - 12.538.8
Development of Online Hands-on Experiments for Hybrid Vector Statics Course
Student attrition has been a problem for many engineering programs across the nation such that a significant number of students drop out in their first- and second- year. Vector statics has been a bottleneck course due to its significant number of failures and repeats. In a departmental survey, approximately 44% of the students did not earn a passing grade of C- or above. The high repeat and failure rates of this course significantly hamper the students from moving up in their engineering curricula, resulting in a high attrition rate of the engineering students. A group of mechanical engineering faculty members constructed three sets of experimental apparatus for hands-on statics experiments based on the problems in the textbook in an effort to increase better understanding on vector and static equilibrium concepts. One apparatus is a simple pulley-and-rope system to learn 2-D vector resolution and decomposition and force equilibrium of a particle. A second apparatus is a universal force and moment equilibrium tester for students to learn physical natures of the 3-D force and moment vectors, rigid body force and moment equilibrium, and equivalent force-couple system. The third apparatus is a reconfigurable metal truss model with strain gauges attached to the critical members for online monitoring of the resulting member forces over the Internet. The students can conduct a truss design project in conjunction with custom MATLAB computational tools for optimum design configuration and then test the constructed model under physical loading conditions for prediction of failure. High-end multi-and uni-axial force transducers and pneumatic loading mechanisms are interfaced with an advanced data acquisition system using LABVIEW. This paper presents our experiences in developing these sets of hands-on experiments. This new change in teaching traditional vector statics courses will precipitate concomitant revision in offering other traditional engineering courses as well.
Engineering education is under considerable pressure to include more and new materials, to restructure the course content using new approaches and technologies and to manage a spectrum of students with diverse backgrounds in spite of the reduced total number of credits for graduation. Most engineering curricula have become more intensive and thus students are required to spend more time for each subject. On the other hand, student attrition has been a problem for many engineering programs across the nation such that a significant number of students drop out in their first- and second- year. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona has one of the largest engineering programs in the US with over 4,600 undergraduate engineering students. More than 84 percent of the students are working during the week.1 As indicated in an intramural report on student attrition2, the primary non-university related reasons students claimed for leaving their studies were the difficulties managing work and class schedules, and commuting to campus. Thus, time-efficient learning is in greater demand than ever to assist in student retention.
Kim, K., & Rezaei, A., & Shih, A., & Jawaharlal, M., & Shelton, M. (2007, June), Development Of Online Hands On Experiments For Hybrid Vector Statics Courses Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2702
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