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Educational Use of Virtual Worlds for Engineering Students

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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

Pedagogical Issues in Computing

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.527.1 - 22.527.12



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Paper Authors


Tumkor Serdar Stevens Institute of Technology

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Serdar Tümkor is affiliated as a research scientist and adj. professor in Mechanical Engineering Department at Stevens Institute of Technology. He had been a full-time faculty member of Mechanical Engineering Department at Istanbul Technical University since 1996. Dr. Tümkor received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University in 1994. His teaching interests are Machine Design, Engineering Design, and Engineering Graphics. His current research interests include Design of MEMS devices with polymeric nano-composites, computer integrated design, process planning and manufacturing, online design catalogs, and web-based collaboration.

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El-Sayed Aziz Stevens Institute of Technology

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Dr. El-Sayed Aziz holds a faculty position as assistant professor in the Production Engineering and Mechanical Design Department at Faculty of Engineering, Mansoura University, Egypt. Currently, he is working as research scientist at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Mansoura University, Egypt, in 1991 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 2003. His research interests include knowledge-based engineering systems, computer-integrated design and manufacturing, Finite Element Analysis, software development and applications as well as remote and virtual laboratories.

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Sven K. Esche Stevens Institute of Technology

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Sven Esche is a tenured Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He received a Diploma in Applied Mechanics in 1989 from Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany, and was awarded M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Ohio State University in 1994 and 1997, respectively. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses related to mechanisms and machine dynamics, integrated product development, solid mechanics and plasticity theory, structural design and analysis, engineering analysis and finite element methods and has interests in remote laboratories, project-based learning and student learning assessment. His research is in the areas of remote sensing and control with applications to remote experimentation as well as modeling of microstructure changes in metal forming processes. He publishes regularly in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and scientific journals. At the 2006 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago, USA, he received the Best Paper Award for his article ‘A Virtual Laboratory on Fluid Mechanics’.

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Constantin Chassapis Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science)

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Educational Use of Virtual Worlds for Engineering Students Abstract for a Full PaperEngineering students often exhibit insufficient motivation when learning in traditional classroomand laboratory settings. One possible way for increasing student motivation is using computersoftware and simulations, such as a game-based learning and training platform. There alreadyexist many web-based learning games, which may be based on pre-defined interaction scenarios.In recent years, such interactions have occurred in virtual worlds, where the users of these virtualworlds (avatars) debate, negotiate, simulate the consequences of various scenarios and solvesimplified real-world problems. This virtual setting may provide an effective learning experiencefor the students, and it may also capture and hold their attention. Virtual worlds have beentailored for many subject areas, but more work on adopting this approach for engineeringeducation is warranted. For instance, because of the technical restrictions of the programming forsuch virtual worlds, the implementation of realistic laboratory exercises has turned out to be verychallenging.In this paper, the development of a classroom and a laboratory space with a number ofengineering experiments in SecondLife/OpenSim 6.7 will be described. The technical problemscan be divided into three main groups: (a) visual appeal of the objects, (b) problems with thephysics engine and (c) limited programming capabilities. The object models are low in graphicalquality, giving them poor visual appeal. The physics engine of SecondLife does not allow objectsto undergo realistic motions. Limitations of SecondLife create difficulties in implementingcoordinated motions of multiple objects. Some methods for overcoming these technical obstaclesin creating virtual laboratory experiments will be discussed in this paper.

Serdar, T., & Aziz, E., & Esche, S. K., & Chassapis, C. (2011, June), Educational Use of Virtual Worlds for Engineering Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17808

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