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Interactive Web Examples For Dynamics Developed Using Dazzlermax

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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

Innovations in Teaching Mechanics

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.794.1 - 9.794.11



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Paper Authors

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Phillip Cornwell

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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 Web Examples for Dynamics Developed using DazzlerMaxTM

Phillip J. Cornwell Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


Technology and the WWW have tremendous potential to enhance the teaching and learning of dynamics. Course notes, animations, worked out example problems, videos of lectures, etc., can be, and are being, put on the web for student use. Lacking, however, are interactive example problems that require students to not only read a problem but to actively work through the problem. Example problems are key elements in helping students learn the basic principles of dynamics. In this paper, the author will discuss interactive example problems that were developed using DazzlerMax™, an e-learning authoring tool. The examples were developed using the same question and answer paradigm that the author uses when presenting example problems in class. Students are required to pick a strategy and to answer questions that are chosen to help guide them through the example problem’s solution. Since there is rarely a unique path through a solution, the interactive example problems are designed to allow different paths, thus challenging the students’ perception that there is a “right way” to solve a problem. For example, for a problem involving multiple systems, the student decides which system to start with rather than being forced to passively accept one. Assessment of the interactive example problems will also be presented.

I. Introduction

Engineering educators are struggling with the question of how to most effectively utilize technology, multimedia and the WWW to enhance engineering education. In the subject area of dynamics one of the most natural applications of multimedia has been in the use of simulations1,2. Dynamics textbooks often include a CD-ROM with simulations. For example, Engineering Mechanics: Statics and Dynamics by Hibbler3 has over 120 simulation models. Often these models are of example problems or homework problems and allow students to vary parameters to hopefully explore the problem more fully. In the author’s personal experience, these sorts of simulations are not very useful unless the students are specifically assigned to look at them. The best use of these types of simulations has been in the demonstration mode and to help improve students’ intuition, visualization and to provide some motivation4. They do not however, help strengthen students’ problem solving abilities or their ability to apply fundamental principles to solve problems.

A second use of technology that is becoming more popular is the use of web-based homework problems5-7. Homework is critical in helping students acquire a mastery of course material because it is the first situation in which they are required to apply the principles on their own. Every instructor has heard the complaint “I understand the material but I just can’t do the problems!” Homework, quizzes and exams are three primary ways students can demonstrate a

Cornwell, P. (2004, June), Interactive Web Examples For Dynamics Developed Using Dazzlermax Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13924

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