Asee peer logo

How to Improve a Textbook with Engineering Technology Students

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Issues in ET Education II

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.676.1 - 24.676.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Barry Dupen Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne

visit author page

Dr. Dupen is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). He has 9 years’ experience as a metallurgist, materials engineer, and materials laboratory manager in the automotive industry. His primary interests lie in materials engineering, mechanics, and engineering technology education. He is also an experienced contra dance caller.

visit author page

Download Paper |


How to Improve a Textbook with Engineering Technology StudentsAbstractStrength of Materials is the hardest course in the first two years of the Mechanical, Civil, andArchitectural Engineering Technology programs at ____; consequently it has the highest dropand fail rate (between 18% and 30% per semester). A previous ASEE paper described the processfor creating a new textbook designed to help students learn better and pass the course in largernumbers. The textbook is free, available online as a 2 MB pdf file. This paper focuses oncontinuous improvement of the textbook. While commercially-produced textbooks are updatedonce every four to ten years, the new textbook is updated every semester based on studentfeedback. In the first semester of the new textbook's use, feedback was optional and worth extracredit points. Unfortunately, only the most desperate students participated, and the quality of theresponses was inadequate. Subsequently, feedback was incorporated into the homeworkassignments as a course requirement, with better than 90% participation. Feedback must be bothspecific and actionable: “this chapter is confusing” does not meet these criteria, whereas “I don'tunderstand how to solve the moment in Example 6, page 45” meets both criteria. A student maynot know what to change, but can easily identify the confusing parts of a text.This paper presents an analysis of the quality and quantity of feedback responses, with examplesof positive effects on the textbook over the past three semesters. Although the topic of the bookis Strength of Materials, this paper discusses techniques that can be applied to a variety ofundergraduate engineering textbook topics.

Dupen, B. (2014, June), How to Improve a Textbook with Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20567

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015