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From Tootsie Rolls To Composites: Assessing A Spectrum Of Active Learning Activities In Engineering Mechanics

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

What's New in the Mechanics of Materials?

Tagged Division

Mechanics

Page Count

27

Page Numbers

12.770.1 - 12.770.27

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1737

Download Count

52

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Paper Authors

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Julie Linsey University of Texas-Austin

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JULIE LINSEY is a Ph.D. candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research focus is on systematic methods and tools for innovative and efficient conceptual design with particular focus on design-by-analogy. Contact:julie@linseys.org

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Austin Talley University of Texas--Austin

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AUSTIN TALLEY is a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focus is in design methodology and engineering education. He received his B.S. from Texas A&M University. He previously worked for National Instruments Corporation. Contact Austin@talleyweb.com

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Daniel Jensen U.S. Air Force Academy

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DAN JENSEN is a Professor of Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has worked for Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, NASA, University of the Pacific, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and MacNeal-Schwendler Corp. His research includes development of innovative design methodologies and enhancement of engineering education.

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Kristin Wood University of Texas-Austin

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KRISTIN WOOD is the Cullen Trust Endowed Professor in Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Woos current research interests focus on product design, development, and evolution. The current and near-future objective of this research is to develop design strategies, representations, and languages that will result in more comprehensive design tools, innovative manufacturing techniques, and design teaching aids
at the college, pre-college, and industrial levels. Contact: wood@mail.utexas.edu.

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Kathy Schmidt University of Texas-Austin

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KATHY J. SCHMIDT is the Director of the Faculty Innovation Center for the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. In this position, she promotes the College of Engineering's commitment to finding ways to enrich teaching and learning. She works in all aspects of education including design and development, faculty training, learner support, and evaluation. Contact k.schmidt@mail.utexas.edu

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Rachel Kuhr University of Texas-Austin

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RACHEL KUHR is a undergraduate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin Contact rachelkuhr@mail.utexas.edu

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Saad Eways Austin Community College

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SAAD EWAYS is presently professor of Physics and Engineering and Assistant Dean of Math and Science at Austin Community College (ACC) where he teaches courses in both physics and engineering. He served as Department Head from 96-97 and Assistant Dean of Math and Science from 97-01. Dr. Eways received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He received an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering and an M.S. and a B.S. in Electrical Engineer from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Eways is very interested in improving student retention, increased student success and better and more efficient ways to teach science.

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

From Tootsie Rolls to Composites: Assessing a Spectrum of Active Learning Activities in Engineering Mechanics Keywords: Active learning, hands-on activities, learning styles, Myers-Briggs

Abstract The introduction of active learning exercises into a traditional lecture has been shown to improve student learning. Hands-on learning opportunities in labs and projects provide a primary approach in the active learning toolbox. This paper presents a series of innovative hands-on active learning activities for mechanics of materials topics. These activities are based on a Methodology for Developing Hands-on Active Learning Activities, a systematic approach for efficient and effective activity development, and were robustly evaluated at three institutions of higher learning. These institutions include a research university (The University of Texas, Austin), a four-year primarily teaching institution (The US Air Force Academy) and a community college (Austin Community College in Austin Texas). Seven of the twenty-eight activities have been rigorously evaluated to date. Evaluation consisted of a variety of measures, including student opinion surveys, focus groups, pre/post activity quizzes, exam questions and a concept inventory. In addition, demographic information, student learning styles and Myers- Briggs Personality were measured and are correlated to the student evaluation measures. Data from over 150 students is summarized and insights gained are discussed. In general, students are excited about the hands-on activities in lecture, and they believe the activities enhance their learning. The majority of the assessment data also shows that the active learning activities enhance students’ understanding of the material. While these general findings exist, students’ opinions of the activities do vary with learning styles, institutions and their general understanding in the course. Learning styles, personality type, and perception of performance in the class all have influence on the students’ opinions of the activities and will be measured further in future activity development and evaluation.

1. Introduction and Motivation Active learning approaches improve students’ overall learning1. There is considerable literature that addresses the advantages of using hands-on experiences in an engineering curriculum2-15. Although the importance of active learning activities is well recognized, little formal guidance in a systematic approach for development exists16. Many experts believe that a systematic approach for research into how we educate engineers is needed to provide long-lasting improvement in engineering education17-19. The overarching focus of our current research is to design, develop, assess, and implement Active Learning Products (ALPs) that improve the student learning processes and environment. ALPs are activities, such as hands-on exercises, thought experiments, forensic investigations, physical measurements, interactive multimedia exercises, and design applications, that enhance student learning across learning styles and personality types.

This paper presents data on the assessment of ALPs at multiple higher education institutions (The University of Texas, Austin [UT], The US Air Force Academy [USAFA] and Austin Community College [ACC] ). To assess the ALPs for continual improvement, we seek to answer the following educational research questions: Question 1: Are the ALPs effective for improving learning? Question 2: Are the effects of the ALPs different, based on student characteristics?

Linsey, J., & Talley, A., & Jensen, D., & Wood, K., & Schmidt, K., & Kuhr, R., & Eways, S. (2007, June), From Tootsie Rolls To Composites: Assessing A Spectrum Of Active Learning Activities In Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1737

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