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Five-Minute Demonstrations: Minimal Faculty Investment for Maximum Learning Impact

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ME Demonstrations and Laboratories

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Pamela L Dickrell University of Florida

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Dr. Pamela Dickrell is the Associate Director of the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education (IE3) at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida. She designs and teaches large enrollment service courses, and researches innovative educational methods for the delivery of curriculum to students across multiple engineering majors. Her prior appointment at UF was director of the engineering distance learning program, UF EDGE (Electronic Delivery of Gator Engineering) for eight years, helping UF engineering departments deliver online master’s degrees and certificates to thousands of students working in industry or serving in the military worldwide. Dr. Pamela Dickrell earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, with research specializing in Tribology.

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Five-Minute Demonstrations: Minimal Faculty Investment for Maximum Learning Impact This work examines a systematic approach of designing five-minute course demonstrations for use in large engineering lectures for active learning and course concept retention within a traditional engineering second year course.  Demonstrations are created maintaining key characteristics of:  a) ease of build by faculty using inexpensive parts, b) portability to the lecture hall in a laptop bag, c) durability for passing around to all students in lecture to test themselves, and d) clearly reinforcing engineering concepts in physical practice of the theory paralleled in same lecture.  A one-page demonstration design flow-chart was created through formation of the five-minute demonstrations, which can be followed and adapted by faculty to build their own five-minute demonstrations in any number of second and third year engineering lecture courses.   Four demonstration designs are highlighted, including the detailed part lists and related lecture theories used in a 400 student ‘circuits for non-majors’ course at a public land-grant university. The largest fraction of students in the ‘circuits for non-majors’ course are Mechanical Engineering students, and the course instructor is a Mechanical Engineer, so demonstrations are designed to emphasize mechanical applications of electronics as well as building a foundation for basic electronics knowledge expected in subsequent mechanical courses. These tangible brief demonstrations, that students can physically operate during the lecture based course, are structured for students to develop a better engineering feel for the importance of theoretical concepts paralleled in the same lecture, with the goal of realization of practical applications of mathematical based engineering course concepts. The demonstration design process and related one-page flow chart can be used by faculty for demonstration construction within a variety of engineering service courses (statics, mechanics, dynamics, materials, etc.). Students in the lecture course are surveyed for qualitative and quantitative feedback on the impact of the hands-on five-minute demonstrations in their understanding of the theoretical lecture concepts.

Dickrell, P. L. (2017, June), Five-Minute Demonstrations: Minimal Faculty Investment for Maximum Learning Impact Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28366

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