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Enhancements To An Undergraduate Mechanisms Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Computers in Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.514.1 - 8.514.7



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Paper Authors

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Nikolai Dechev

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William Cleghorn

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

Session 1520

Enhancements to an Undergraduate Mechanisms Course

W. L. Cleghorn, N. Dechev Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department University of Toronto


This paper covers techniques used at the University of Toronto to enhance the presentation of materials for an undergraduate mechanisms course. Some are based on the implementation visual aids in lecture presentations. The aids include the use of (i) translucent plastic models suitable for display on an overhead projector, (ii) physical models suitable for demonstration using a document camera and video projector, and (iii) computer animations which may be shown using a video projector. Examples are provided for each. The paper includes discussions of the relative merits and limitations of each of these methods of providing demonstrations, and means that the authors have employed to maximize their impact. In addition, the paper discusses the results of implementing a laboratory based on the Working Model 2D software.

Classroom Demonstrations

For several years the authors have been involved in the teaching of mechanisms courses. At one time they relied solely on translucent plastic models with an overhead projector to illustrate machine motions1. The models included linkages, meshing of gears and gear trains. These models are limited to the demonstration of planar systems. More recently, computer software packages have been available. They permit animations of more complicated spatial systems to be developed and illustrated2,3,4.

Many lecture rooms at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering are now equipped with a video projector and a document camera. The authors have used this equipment to advantage in the teaching of an undergraduate mechanisms course. Both physical models and computer animations are shown to students using this equipment, which complement the theoretical lecture material. At least one animation or model demonstration is shown during each lecture. They are shown to stimulate student interest and improve their understanding.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Dechev, N., & Cleghorn, W. (2003, June), Enhancements To An Undergraduate Mechanisms Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12021

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