Asee peer logo

Increased Student Engagement in Problem Solving Courses in Engineering through Active Learning

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


PS Dhanasekaran University of Minnesota, Duluth

visit author page

Dr PS (Puttagounder Dhanasekaran Swaminathan) has PhD degree in mechanical engineering from Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. He is currently working as an assistant professor, at University of Minnesota, Duluth. He has taught, CAD/CAM, FEA, Machine design, Statics, Strength of Materials, and various courses on materials and materials selection, for both undergraduate and graduate programs. He also authored and co-authored a text book chapter and research papers on machining of composites. He has a diverse industrial experience for 27 years, in design, research and manufacturing of electro mechanical systems, such as design of various types of gear and gear boxes, antennas and light and heavy fabricated structures, for communication, TV telecast, natural disasters management and Telemedicine application. Dr PS, designed and manufactured various types of antenna’s weighing from 200 pounds to 100,000 pounds. He was also actively involved in configuring the antenna controls and selection of motor and motor controllers. Dr PS, has advised more than 40 senior/capstone projects. One of his project won the national award from Airforce Research Laboratory in spring 2017. Project was on “Design of the Load Carrying Vehicle (LCV)”- The project solution is a fully electric, autonomous, all terrain, load carrying vehicle.

visit author page


Ping Zhao University of Minnesota, Duluth

visit author page

Dr. Ping Zhao is currently an Associate Professor at Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in University of Minnesota Duluth. Her research focuses on smart materials and devices, advanced materials and composites, and Micro/nanomechanics, etc.

visit author page

Download Paper |



Increased student engagement in classroom activities is gaining significant importance in higher education. While active learning has become a axiom in STEM education due to overwhelming research demonstrating its effectiveness in promoting student learning, motivation and retention. Active learning is one of the latest teaching techniques that engages students in the learning procedure. It has been observed, that the active learning techniques have been one of the vital tools for instructors to stimulate student engagement. In short, active learning is any activity that engages students in a classroom, rather than simply focusing submissively to the traditional lecture and demands students to do significant learning activities and analyze what they are doing. Student engagement in classroom via review, discussion, application and practice, demonstrated that the students learn more than the traditional classes. In-class reading and writing exercises, which help to measure student learning also, improve student engagement in learning process even in large size classes. To improve student engagement in the class size of greater than 40, in senior level problem solving courses in engineering such as machine design, students were provided a problem to solve. Every student to follow unique numbers for themselves and to follow the instructor who is working with different numbers, kept the whole class engaged. Students were at liberty to interact with the instructor or to discuss with their peers, either one to one or a small team of their own or even cross teams. Adequate time was allowed in between steps, so that the whole class could complete the learning process. Students learning outcome was measured through, homework, quiz, test and group projects. Student reviews both statements and numbers showed their improved learning and their increased interest in engagement learning.

Dhanasekaran, P., & Zhao, P. (2018, June), Increased Student Engagement in Problem Solving Courses in Engineering through Active Learning Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30649

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: © 2018 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