June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.718.1 - 24.718.28
Improving retention of student understanding by use of hands-on experiments in StaticsWhen a course in the Engineering Science of Statics is taught to a large number ofstudents, how can the the multiple topics covered in the class be presented in a manner toincrease the student’s understanding of the material? Statics is one of the foundationcourses for an engineering student's education, and the topics learned in this course mustbe retained for use in follow-on courses in engineering. For a class with more than 300students per semester, the problem becomes even more difficult as overhead projectionsare often the only way of presenting to a class of this size. Theory sessions of the courseare not able to present material to small groups, a manner in which students might bemore likely to retain what has been presented. However, during the course discussionlabs, where the number of students does not exceed 24 per instructor, students should beable to have more of a personal relationship with the instructor, and thus potentiallybetter understand and retain material. Within our college, continued low test scores alongwith an unfavorable percentage of students retaking this course have led to searching forways of formatting the course in a manner to allow students to better retain material. Asa result, the professors involved in this course have been tasked with improving student’sability to retain knowledge, which is measured through test scores, as well as decreasingthe percentage of students required to re-take the course due to non-passing grades.Additionally, it is agreed upon that if the students better understand the beginningengineering courses, the retention of students within the college can be improved, whichis always a topic of concern in higher education.One method that is being explored to improve student’s understanding in this course isthe use of hands-on activities in the discussion labs that reinforce concepts presented inthe theory sessions. By utilizing these activities, students should be able to draw on theexperiences to retain knowledge gained on individual topics. This paper will exploremethods currently being utilized in a large format course in Statics, and in particular, howthe use of hands-on experiments during discussion labs can lead to an increase in studentsunderstanding. Evaluation of the methods used will be based on homework and examquestions pertaining to specific topics in the course. Additionally, a comparative study ofuniversities with similar programs, and a literary search comparing our results with thoseof other researchers will be presented.
Ramming, C. H., & Phillips, J. J. (2014, June), Improving Retention of Student Understanding by Use of Hands-on Experiments in Statics Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20610
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