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Evaluation of a Puzzle-based Virtual Platform for Improving Spatial Visualization Skills in Engineering Freshmen

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count

13

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34602

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34602

Download Count

54

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Paper Authors

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Vimal Kumar Viswanathan San Jose State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2984-0025

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Dr. Vimal Viswanathan is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at San Jose State University. His research interests include design theory, design automation, design for X and engineering education. His engineering education work includes the application of brain-based learning protocols in engineering education, technology-assisted education, problem-based learning, and improving spatial visualization skills.

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Sadaqatali Hussainali Mirza San Jose State University

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I am an MSME student at SJSU, graduating in May 2020. I have previously worked as a mechanical design engineer at a 3D printing company and as an intern at Mahindra & Mahindra Pvt Ltd. in India.

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Chitra R. Nayak Tuskegee University

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Dr. Nayak joined Tuskegee University as an assistant professor in Physics in 2014. After completing her Ph.D (2009) in the area of nonlinear dynamics from Cochin University, India, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the interdisciplinary field of bacterial biophysics and immunology at Dalhousie University and University of Toronto, Canada. Her current area of research work includes nonlinear analysis of bio-signals and fluid dynamics. Dr. Nayak is also involved in education research at Tuskegee University.

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Maria Calhoun Tuskegee University

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Dr. Maria Calhoun is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Tuskegee University. She received her Ph.D. in material science and engineering from Tuskegee University in 2009. She teaches courses in engineering graphics, freshman design, and probability and statistics for engineers. Her research interests include pedagogy development for learning and engagement; first year engineering studies, and nanostructured films and membranes for various applications.

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Abstract

Being able to spatially visualize and mentally rotate is a key skill necessary to succeed in graphics and subsequent engineering courses. Recent research has focused on methods to develop Spatial Visualization (SV) skills in engineering students, as it is a key skill to succeed in most of the STEM fields. However, in most of the engineering schools, the instructors find it very difficult to develop keen SV skills in students. The major factors contributing to this challenge include, but not limited to the huge class sizes, limited time to teach the material, lack of effective demonstrations and the unavailability of feasible hands-on activities. With the funding from the National Science Foundation, the authors are developing a puzzle-based active learning platform called “Student Assistant for Visualization in Engineering” (SAVE) for developing SV skills in engineering freshmen. In the preliminary version of this learning platform, the students are asked to complete a quiz with tasks requiring SV skills. For any incorrect answer, they are provided with automated hints about their mistakes. These hints are expected to help them in solving the following tasks. If they commit three mistakes, the quiz locks itself and creates a report on their performance thus far. The students are able to go back and restart the quiz. The student’s target is to complete the quiz with a minimum number of attempts. In the study reported here, the effectiveness of this game platform in conveying essential concepts of engineering graphics is investigated. Firstly, SAVE is implemented in a smaller classroom and the student feedback is collected. Then, it is implemented in a freshmen graphics class in a large public university on the west coast. The performance of the participating students in a follow-up exam is compared against that of a control group. The results show that the use of SAVE improves students’ conceptual understanding compared to a control group, as measured by the scores in the follow-up exam.

Viswanathan, V. K., & Mirza, S. H., & Nayak, C. R., & Calhoun, M. (2020, June), Evaluation of a Puzzle-based Virtual Platform for Improving Spatial Visualization Skills in Engineering Freshmen Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34602

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