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Homework Methods in Engineering Mechanics

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Explorations in Mechanics Pedagogy

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.849.1 - 26.849.6



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Paper Authors


Derek James Lura Ph.D. Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Derek Lura is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Computer Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers. He was previously a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Assistive, Rehabilitation, and Robotics Technologies where he coordinated research activities at the Rehabilitation Robotics and Prosthetics Testbed. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Florida in 2012. He is committed to developing his courses to apply and develop best practices from the scholarship of teaching and learning. Outside of course development, his primary research interests are in biomechanics, rehabilitation, prosthetics, and robotics. His current research projects include robotic methods modeling and predicting human motion, the functional evaluation of a variety of prosthetic devices, and the creating of low-cost virtual reality systems for stroke rehabilitation. His goals are to offer the best possible education to his students and to increase the mobility and manipulability of persons with disabilities.

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Robert James O'Neill Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. ROBERT (BOB) J. O’NEILL is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering, Florida Gulf Coast University. He received a B.S. from the United States Military Academy in 1975, an M.S. in Structural Engineering and an M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering from Stanford University in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from Kansas State University in 1993. Prior to his coming to FGCU he was a Professor of Engineering at Roger Williams University and an Associate Professor and Director of the Civil Engineering Analysis Group at the United States Military Academy. Dr. O’ Neill is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has been active at the national level with ASCE’s Technical Council on Computing and Information Technology (TCCIT), Committee on Faculty Development (CFD) and Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) initiative. Dr. O’Neill is a licensed Professional Engineer in California, Florida, Nevada and Virginia. He is a civil engineering program evaluator for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). He is an American Society of Civil Engineering Fellow (ASCE), a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

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Ashraf Badir P.E. Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Badir is an Associate Professor in the Environmental and Civil Engineering Department at the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering in Florida Gulf Coast University. He holds a Master Degree and a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech.

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Homework Methods in Engineering MechanicsThis study observes the efficacy of a new system for assessing homework in an engineeringmechanics (Statics & Dynamics) course. In the new system, short in class quizzes are being usedto assess students’ understanding of homework assignments rather than directly grading assignedproblems. Previously, students submitted scans of completed homework assignments via Canvas(course management software) and homework was graded directly. Quizzes typically consist ofone of the assigned homework problems that has been re-phrased and/or had numbers changed.Quizzes are administered at the start of class and student are given 15 minutes to complete them.Motivation for this research was generated by negative feedback from students in respect to thedifficulty and time spent on homework and a lack of correlation between homework and otherassessments of performance (quizzes and exams) in the class. We believe that this new methodwill put a focus on students understanding the problem rather than simply trying to get thecorrect answer, and will lead to better performance in class and on course exams.Studies have shown that homework is an important part of improving academic achievement(Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006). However, research has not fully clarified this relationshipbetween time spent on homework and academic achievement, especially at the student level(Dettmers, Trautwein, & Ludtke, 2009). The quality and quantity of homework have both showncorrelation with achievement (Kitsantas & Zimmerman, 2009), and quality of homework isaffected by many factors. Direct assessment of homework assignments is limited by a lack ofknowledge of the conditions under which the assignment was completed. Availability andutilization of assistance from peers, problem solutions, and even the instructors may lead to thestudent being able to submit correct solutions without understanding the material. The use ofquizzes has been established as an effective tool for assessment and encouragement of self-directed learning. A study conducted in the chemical engineering program at California StateUniversity found significant increases in grades, time spent on homework, and studentperceptions of learning when switching from traditional homework assignments to weeklyquizzes (Faraji, 2012). An evaluation of quizzes in physiology has shown that quizzes led toincreased performance on advanced examination questions (Berg, Plovsing, & Damgaard, 2012).Assessment of this transition will be based on observation of students’ performance on exams,and a survey of students’ perceptions relative to historical norms. Institutional review of researchprotocol determined that full board review of the study and informed consent was not required.Results are pending the completion of the fall 2014 semester. However distribution of quizscores to date is closer to the typical distribution seen in exam scores. Quizzes are given out atthe start of class so students who miss class or show up late have low quiz averages, however thequizzes themselves have eliminated the necessity to have a separate attendance / tardiness policy. ReferencesBerg, R. M. G., Plovsing, R. R., & Damgaard, M. (2012). Teaching Baroreflex Physiology to Medical Students: A Comparison of Quiz-Based and Conventional Teaching Strategies in a Laboratory Exercise. Advances in Physiology Education, 36(2), 147-153.Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of educational research, 76(1), 1-62.Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., & Ludtke, O. (2009). The Relationship between Homework Time and Achievement Is Not Universal: Evidence from Multilevel Analyses in 40 Countries. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 20(4), 375-405.Faraji, S. (2012). The Enhancement of Student's Learning in Both Lower-Division and Upper- Division Classes by a Quiz-Based Approach. Chemical Engineering Education, 46(3), 213-217.Kitsantas, A., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2009). College students’ homework and academic achievement: The mediating role of self-regulatory beliefs. Metacognition and Learning, 4(2), 97-110.

Lura, D. J., & O'Neill, R. J., & Badir, A. (2015, June), Homework Methods in Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24186

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