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Emporium Based Redesign Of Statics: An Innovative Approach To Enhance Learning And Reduce Costs

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teaching Statics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.456.1 - 15.456.19



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Paper Authors


Masoud Rais-Rohani Mississippi State University

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Masoud Rais-Rohani is a Professor of Aerospace Engineering and
Engineering Mechanics. He teaches courses in aircraft structures, structural mechanics, and design optimization, and his primary
research activities are in the area of structural and multidisciplinary design optimization.

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Andrew Walters Mississippi State University

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Andrew Walters is an instructor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. His primary area of teaching is undergraduate engineering mechanics courses such as Statics, Dynamics, and Mechanics of Materials. Prior to joining Mississippi State, he worked at NASA Marshall.

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Anthony Vizzini Western Michigan University

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Anthony Vizzini is Dean of the College of Engineering at Western Michigan University. He previously served as Head of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University. His areas of teaching and research are focused on the mechanics and damage tolerance assessment of polymer-matrix composite materials.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Emporium Based Redesign of Statics: An Innovative Approach to Enhance Learning and Reduce Costs


This paper describes a new approach for teaching Statics that is also applicable to other multi- section engineering courses with large enrollments. The redesign effort is based on NCAT’s emporium model whereby students are introduced to the course contents via asynchronous online delivery method outside of class and work on assignments and conduct experiments with physical models inside of class (emporium) under the guidance of the instructor along with a cadre of learning assistants. During the pilot phase, students were separated into control and experimental groups, which allowed a formative assessment of the learning outcomes and comparison of the traditional and emporium approaches. The results of the pilot phase along with the preliminary results of the full implementation phase show that the emporium approach has led to moderate improvements in the learning outcomes along with significant reduction in instruction costs. As for the students’ level of satisfaction with the emporium model, the opinions were rather mixed during the transition period with a growing tilt toward the new approach.


Engineering Mechanics I or Statics is a sophomore-level course covering such topics as equilibrium of concurrent and non-concurrent force systems in two- and three-dimensional space, force-moment relationship, friction, analysis of truss and frame structures, and area moments of inertia. For many engineering disciplines—such as Aerospace, Biological, Chemical, Civil, and Mechanical—Statics serves as a prerequisite for more advanced mechanics courses including Dynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and Mechanics of Materials. Students who have trouble with Statics often face great difficulty learning the more advanced concepts in subsequent courses.

In an effort to enhance learning, many educators have successfully developed and integrated multimedia and computer technology in Statics instruction.1-4 Some of these tools are used to enhance the traditional (face-to-face) lecture format whereas others provide a framework for fully Web-based (online) or blended delivery of the course content. Although these tools help to diversify the delivery of instructional materials, the pedagogical paradigm of lecture-based instruction (on campus or distance) remains the same.

Despite students’ mixed opinions, most studies suggest that Web-based instruction is as effective as traditional face-to-face lecture approach. One particular study5 concluded that even though students preferred their experience in the face-to-face course, there was no significant difference in the learning outcomes of the two methods of instruction. Another comparative study6 showed a small increase in the students’ performance in the Web-based class, but concluded that the improvement could be attributed to the slightly higher grade point average (GPA) of the students in the Web-based course. After a thorough survey of many comparative studies reported in the literature, Olson and Wisher7 found that Web-based instruction can actually improve student

Rais-Rohani, M., & Walters, A., & Vizzini, A. (2010, June), Emporium Based Redesign Of Statics: An Innovative Approach To Enhance Learning And Reduce Costs Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16022

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