June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.817.1 - 13.817.16
IT-Enhanced Teaching and Learning in Machine Dynamics
Challenging problems of modern engineering education, teaching and learning methods are still mostly based on traditional lectures and exercises, which fall short in their efforts to develop the engineering skills levels of today’s engineers. Information Technology (IT) can play a significant role in the development learning environments and lead students through the processes of structuring of information into knowledge.
The integration of IT into the classroom provides innovative learning environments that allow for more interactive, relevant, and effective applications to give students experiences through simulations of physical systems. This paper presents a means to enhance teaching and learning experiences through the use of IT in a course on mechanisms and machine dynamics. Through the use of virtual collaborative environments, virtual laboratories, software for simulation and visualization of mechanical systems, and web-based multimedia modules, students are given a chance to experiment with ideas and see the results of their efforts on the computer’s screen. In this approach, the instructional material is presented on the computer with the conceptual elements explained and supplemented by the instructor’s lecture. Then, a laboratory exercise is executed on which involves combinations of virtual and real representations under the supervision of the instructor to give experience in application of the concepts. Initial student feedback has shown that this approach allows students to augment their learning over and above the level obtained through conventional classroom setting.
Keywords: Engineering education, Machine dynamics, Information technology, Virtual learning environments
Today in the era of information explosion, engineering faculty members1,2,3 are concerned that their students do not receive enough practical knowledge of engineering. The traditional education approaches are generally instructor-centered, where the instructor controls the material and pace of learning. The instructor introduces a topic by lecturing on general principles, then uses the principles to derive mathematical models, shows illustrative applications of the models, gives students practice in similar derivations and applications in homework, and finally tests their ability to do the same sort of thing on exams.4 Beyond the course textbook, the information sources are the school library, as the primary medium, and the laboratory. As engineering schools experience increased competitive pressures in maintaining students numbers and teaching quality, IT is becoming the key driver that schools should explore to improve educational environments and find better pedagogical methods to cope with these challenges.5
IT is changing the ways in which course contents are presented and delivered to students. It is opening new pathways to knowledge and delivery of services to support the learning/teaching process. It allows instructors to model learning strategies and allows individual students to approach tasks in different ways using different strategies. For example, WebCT (Web Course
Aziz, E. (2008, June), It Enhanced Teaching And Learning In Machine Dynamics Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4014
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