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Lights, Camera, Engineering: Energizing And Motivating Students To Enhance Learning

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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

The Fundamentals of Fun

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.868.1 - 9.868.11



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Paper Authors

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Matthew Morris

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Dawn Conniff

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J. Ledlie Klosky

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

Session #

Lights, Camera, Engineering: Energizing and Motivating Students to Enhance Learning

Dawn E. Conniff, Matthew R. Morris, J. Ledlie Klosky United States Military Academy

Abstract Engineering classrooms are an ideal setting for the dramatic presentation of material. Dramatic presentation can include using multimedia content, employing surprise, humor, dramatic voice, exciting physical models, and other non-traditional, highly engaging presentation techniques. These techniques seize the attention of the students and are phenomenal tools in increasing student understanding and illustrating applications of the course material. Often, course material is presented to students without a tie into pragmatic, real world application. By making physical models and dramatic presentation techniques standard practice, instructors bring practicality into each lesson. Students have consistently given positive feedback to this effort through mid-course and end-of-course feedback surveys. Taking engineering out of the often intimidating realm of the theoretical and bringing it into the real world enables instructors to engage students in the “whys” and not just the testable bottom line.

Introduction Drama in the classroom creates an environment where students look forward to attending class. Through a variety of staged events throughout the course, instructors involve the students in very non-traditional education opportunities (Hanus and Estes, 2002). This is accomplished through props, video clips, music, and demonstrations related to the lesson objectives. This “intellectual excitement” keeps students engaged for the entire class allowing interaction, discussion, and continuous feedback leading to better understanding and the opportunity to explore the subject matter in greater depth (Lowman, 1995). Bringing drama into the classroom requires a significant amount of preparation to enable smooth and practical application and must be fine- tuned and highly coordinated to be an enabling tool (Hanus and Estes, 2002). Without proper preparation, dramatic presentations can waste class time and diminish the time available for solid classroom instruction. In the worst case, poorly executed drama can even detract from learning or undermine the instructor’s authority.

This paper describes examples and results of drama, multimedia, and demonstrations implemented in the ABET accredited Civil Engineering program at the United States Military

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Morris, M., & Conniff, D., & Klosky, J. L. (2004, June), Lights, Camera, Engineering: Energizing And Motivating Students To Enhance Learning Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12940

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