St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.231.1 - 5.231.14
Development of a Virtual Laboratory for the Study of Mechanics Masoud Rais-Rohani, Debbie T. Brown Mississippi State University
Virtual Laboratory for the Study of Mechanics (VLSM) is a Web-based educational tool being developed to support Statics and Mechanics of Materials instruction at Mississippi State University. It is designed to serve as an asynchronous tutorial tool with ten modules devoted to topics of interest in these two courses. A typical module consists of concise theoretical discussions, interactive MathView® examples, a Java-enabled design modeling and analysis tool, and a collection of test-your-knowledge exercises with response feedback. This paper describes the objectives of developing VLSM, and gives an overview of some of its modules that have already been developed and are currently being used and evaluated at the designated Web site (www.ae.msstate.edu/vlsm).
The use of computers in engineering education is not new. According to the U.S. Department of Education, engineering faculty have been the quickest to adopt learning technologies. Since the Fall of 1992, engineering faculty have surpassed all other disciplines by using computational tools and software to implement computer-aided instruction.1 A significant shift in technology implementations that is apparent in engineering education today is toward greater use of computers (and other devices) as tools in the learning process rather than as instructional delivery devices. Many of the newer technology tools are designed to facilitate educational tasks by providing students with aids for studying content and practicing skills. Computer-aided instructional reinforcements allow instructors to make more efficient use of limited lecture periods by focusing more on the crucial concepts and less on the mundane tasks.
Computer-based instruction is commonly divided into two modes of delivery: Synchronous and Asynchronous. Synchronous delivery of instruction involves presentation to the student while the instructor is simultaneously available for student-contact with immediate feedback. Examples of synchronous instruction on the computer would be instructor-moderated chat-room discussions, instructor-facilitated application activities, and instructor-driven slide shows, to name a few. Asynchronous delivery of instruction involves self-directed learning on the part of the student with delayed teacher feedback and indirect student contact. Asynchronous instruction examples would include tutorials, bulletin boards, email discussion lists, and automated computer/Web applications that compile student activity data for teacher review at a later time.
The explosive growth of potentially useful content on the World Wide Web, coupled with new, easier-to-use development tools, has encouraged some engineering faculty to explore the use of Web technologies for their course materials.2, 3 In the past few years there has been a noticeable
Brown, D. T., & Rais-Rohani, M. (2000, June), Development Of Virtual Laboratory For The Study Of Mechanics Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. https://peer.asee.org/8307
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