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Interactive Dynamics: A Collaborative Approach To Learning Undergraduate Dynamics

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.335.1 - 4.335.13

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Paper Authors

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Francesco Costanzo

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Gary L. Gray

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

Session 3268

Interactive Dynamics: A Collaborative Approach to Learning Undergraduate Dynamics

Gary L. Gray and Francesco Costanzo Engineering Science and Mechanics Department The Pennsylvania State University


Collaborative learning, computer simulations and practical experimentation are the essential elements of a new project for the enhancement of undergraduate engineering courses cur- rently being developed at Penn State University. This project introduces teamwork, hands-on activities and visualization in courses traditionally containing none of these. The approach used to implement these innovations into a sophomore level dynamics course is described. A discussion of the most significant issues and hurdles encountered during this implementation is included so as to assist other educators in designing learning environments like the one pre- sented here.

1 Introduction Engineering graduates are increasingly required to become immediately productive in the work- place without the on-the-job training that was typical of recent decades. Among other things, this requires the development of team skills along with a high level of computer literacy. These skills have not only been considered more and more important by industries but also, at least in the United States, by accreditation boards, such as ABET, and agencies, such as NSF. In fact, the strategic goals set for engineering education institutions by ABET, stated in a recent report enti- tled “ABET Criteria 2000” [2–5], include

• the ability of applying knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering;

• the ability to apply advanced mathematics in engineering problem solving;

• the ability to design and integrate contemporary analytical, computational and experi- mental practices;

• the ability to work in teams and to effectively communicate as standard skills to be mastered by students by the completion of their undergraduate degree. The demand for team and computer skills is clearly at odds with what is commonly found in most undergraduate engineering curricula. In fact, many of the studies in engineering education

Costanzo, F., & Gray, G. L. (1999, June), Interactive Dynamics: A Collaborative Approach To Learning Undergraduate Dynamics Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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