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Hands On Engineering Homework: A New Approach To Out Of Class Learning

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.232.1 - 1.232.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Jr., Alfred J. Bedard

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David G. Meyer

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

I .— - ..... Session 1626 ,

—---- Hands-on Engineering Homework: A New Approach to Out-of-Class Learning

Alfred J. Bedard, Jr.; David G. Meyer University of Colorado at Boulder

Abstract Our goal is to develop a new way to provide experimental complements to theoretical courses, creating suites of simple experiments that can be done at home and assigned like homework problems. Such simple, but elegant experiments we call hands-on-homeworks (HOH) and these will:

q encourage students to use engineering theory to explain everyday phenomena and compare their observations to theoretical predictions, q provide open-ended opportunities to explore engineering questions using readily available materials and familiar experiences, q train students to conduct “reality checks” and naturally apply theoretical analysis to experimental observations, and q provide continuous opportunities for students to empirically explore engineering questions throughout their college careers and develop habits contributing to life long learning.

Thus far, we have designed and piloted 15 HOH with an additional eight in progress and 24 in plan- ning stages. Typically, these consist of a theory problem statement which includes a HOH component. Many of these HOH also include a classroom demonstration, and a more quantitative closure experiment. We will present examples of HOH created to date and review plans for testing and evaluation.


Background There have been various approaches to the challenge of providing experimental components to theo- retical courses. For example, groups of formal experiments have been provided to give concurrent or added enhancements to analytical subject matter. Alternatively, complete experimental courses have been added to curricula. We take a new approach in the context of the new Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory (ITLL) now under construction at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Our new approach, which we call hands-on-homework (HOH), will be an integral component of the enhanced undergraduate curriculum changes planned and will make use of ITLL resources.

In the past, valuable resources have been created for providing exercises, puzzles, and mysteries draw- ing on day-to-day experiences to challenge and encourage further exploration. However, typically there is lit- tle or no tie in to theoretically obtained results.

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Bedard, J. A. J., & Meyer, D. G. (1996, June), Hands On Engineering Homework: A New Approach To Out Of Class Learning Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6079

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