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Does Student Access to Solution Manual Pose a Challenge?

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Student Learning and Assessment II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.512.1 - 22.512.19



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Paper Authors


Amir Karimi University of Texas, San Antonio

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Amir Karimi is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate
Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He received his Ph.D. degree in
Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1982. His teaching and research
interests are in thermal sciences. He has served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering (1987 to
1992 and September 1998 to January of 2003), College of Engineering Associate Dean of
Academic Affairs (January 2003 - April 2006), and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
(April 2006 - present). Dr. Karimi is a Fellow of ASME, senior member of AIAA, and holds
membership in ASEE, ASHRAE, and Sigma Xi. He is the ASEE Campus Representative at
UTSA, ASEE-GSW Section Campus Representative, and served as the Chair of ASEE Zone III
(2005-07). He chaired the ASEE-GSW section during the 1996-97 academic year.

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Randall D. Manteufel University of Texas, San Antonio

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Dr. Manteufel currently serves as an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas, San Antonio where he has been on the faculty since 1997. His teaching and research interests are in the thermal sciences. He is currently the faculty advisor ASHRAE at UTSA.

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Does Student Access to Solution Manual Pose a Challenge?AbstractMany modern engineering textbooks include problem examples with detailed solutions ineach chapter. The purpose of the examples is to help students with a better understandingof the theory and their application in engineering. At the end of each chapter thetextbooks provide a large number of problems for homework assignments. The purposeof homework assignments is to provide students with experience in solving problemswithout having access to the solution. One aim of homework assignments is to preparestudents for engineering employment where they are routinely required to solve problemsthey have not seen before. In addition to excellent problems in the textbooks, almost allpublishers provide solution manuals as a resource for instructors. These manual givesdetailed solutions for each problem included in the text book. Many are prepared in typeset with excellent graphics. In more recent years these solution manuals are provided indigital format. We have noticed that in the past few years many students have access tothe digital copy of the solution manuals. A Google search for solution manuals for anytextbook gives a list of sources where the solution manuals can be obtained. Examplesare e-bay or We have also noticed that the percentage of unsuccessfulattempts to pass the course (grades of D, F, and W) sharply increases when students haveaccess to the solution manual in the course. Even those who pass the course have a hardertime in follow up courses. To remedy this challenge, we have adopted new proceduresfor assigning homework problems and assessing student knowledge. This papercompares grade distribution in thermodynamic courses when the students had access tothe solution manual with those when most students completed their homeworkassignments without the aid of the solution manual. It will describe our new approach inassigning homework problems and assessing student learning outcome.

Karimi, A., & Manteufel, R. D. (2011, June), Does Student Access to Solution Manual Pose a Challenge? Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17793

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