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Learning More From Class Time : Technology Enhancement In The Classroom

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.428.1 - 5.428.11



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Marilyn J. Smith

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

Session 3202

Learning More From Class Time: Technology Enhancement in the Classroom

Marilyn J. Smith, Narayanan Komerath School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology


The traditional classroom lectures in engineering do not permit professors or students to keep pace with technological changes within rapidly changing disciplines. By using technology, the classroom lecture can be modified so that class time becomes a laboratory of learning and reinforcement through iteration and application. This approach is also very timely since it directly develops the engineering attributes set forth in ABET 2000 Criterion 3. Traditional teaching methods have relied on the Capstone Design classes to fulfill the tasks of tying four years of learning together, as well as to fulfill the ABET 2000 Criterion 3. The methods described herein permit effective implementation of the ABET guidelines across many classes using technology as the leveraging tool.

This paper discusses how this methodology was developed for two senior-level classes: Vibration and Flutter (required core class) and Flow Diagnostics (an elective class). The paper describes in further detail the classroom experiences, examples of the implementation, and the results of the assessment. Positive and negative factors from teacher and student viewpoints are also discussed, including the Hawthorne effect and how students with different learning styles behave with respect to the new methodology introduced in these classes. While the two classes discussed herein are Aerospace Engineering classes, the techniques are applicable across any engineering discipline.

I. Introduction

The rapid pace of technology has created a dilemma for engineering educators. There is a certain amount of core theoretical material that must be covered so that a basic understanding of the mathematical and physical principles are understood by the student. The students may develop the "ennui" syndrome while learning this material, which may ultimately lead to retention problems. In addition to the core material, there are always new research developments that change or extend the course topics, which must also be squeezed into an already full course curriculum. Finally, it has always been a priority of professors at Georgia Tech to introduce some applications to develop the "practical" skills of the students. The ABET 2000 Criterion 31 recognizes the importance of this as a goal2.

One weakness in many engineering syllabi is that most of the "practical" applications are left to the senior Capstone Design courses. Thus, the student gains the false impression that design is where all of the "exciting" and "practical" work is performed. This false impression can have two major impacts. First, the student may not interview well in areas other than design. In addition, this can lead to a large pool of students designating their field of interest as design in

Smith, M. J. (2000, June), Learning More From Class Time : Technology Enhancement In The Classroom Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8538

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