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How To Use Technology For Teaching Problem Solving In Effective And Efficient Ways

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Improving Statics and Dynamics Classes

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.677.1 - 9.677.9

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Paper Authors

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Helen Kuznetsov

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

Session 1368

How to Use Technology For Teaching Problem Solving In Effective and Efficient Ways Helen Kuznetsov University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Effective and efficient methods of teaching problem-solving using interactive computer courseware have been developed as a result of more than 20 years of experimentation with courseware development and implementation in classes at several universities. This presentation deals with Statics and Engineering Mechanics courses for architecture and engineering students. Problem-solving courseware combining instructions and computer-graded tests was initially developed on the NovaNET1 system. The cT 3.002 authoring language was used for more recent development. A CD with ten programs in cT 3.00 for Statics course will be demonstrated (Figure 1). For development of Web- based homeworks and quizzes Mallard3 authoring web-based software was used. The paper describes in detail features of effective and efficient problem-solving programs. Observed advantages and disadvantages of different ways of material presentations, teaching and testing are explained. Students' evaluation of courseware for many years is presented.

Problem-solving courseware in engineering is a necessity in the era of information explosion. Engineering education heavily depends on students' ability to apply theory to practice. Teaching problem solving and design requires a lot of faculty time for checking and grading individual works of many students. Finding effective ways of using the latest developments in computer technology for this purpose has been my goal for many years. Interactive problem-solving programs in Mechanics were tested and used at the School of Architecture and at the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Department at UIUC as well as at Engineering Schools in Alabama A& M University at Normal, Alabama (AAMU) and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE). The development was partially sponsored by several grants from NSF. AAMU and SIUE were coinvestigators in the sponsored projects.

Learner-Tailored Teaching Method for Problem Solving

Observing significant differences in students' comprehension of the same concept and ability to apply theory to solving practical problems, one comes to the conclusion that the best way of teaching problem solving to an individual student can be found only experimentally4. An interactive computer program may produce an educational environment where the implementation of this approach becomes feasible.

The best results in grades and in students' evaluation of the programs were achieved when the topic and related problems were first explained and then tested in an interactive step-by-step fashion. This approach allows a question-specific feedback each time student's response is wrong. In addition the correct answer can be provided after certain number of wrong answers while no points will be assigned for this question. Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Kuznetsov, H. (2004, June), How To Use Technology For Teaching Problem Solving In Effective And Efficient Ways Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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