July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
The primary objective of this project is to transform a freshmen mechanical engineering course, Computing Applications in Mechanical Engineering (ENGR 1121) by providing students with a better learning experience as well as access to inexpensive learning resources (textbook material). The course covers computing applications in Microsoft Excel, MATLAB and Mathcad. Prior to Spring 2021, the Excel and MATLAB components relied on standard textbooks and the Mathcad portion on instructor notes that are provided free to students. This project aims to replace the textbook used for the MATLAB portion of the course with free resources that will be available online in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The MATLAB resources will be available in multiple formats including written text, sample code, multimedia tutorials, and exercises for practice and self-assessment tools. The multiple formats will address the needs of a student body with diverse pedagogical needs.
This VLE will be an enhanced and expanded version of MATLAB Marina – a VLE originally created by the project lead with two of the team members to replace the textbook in the course Computing for Engineers. The impact of this work was significant not only in terms of cost savings for students but also in improving student performance and retention. Student feedback over these semesters consistently showed that students appreciated the cost savings as well as the online resource instead of a traditional textbook for learning MATLAB. However, after the recent consolidation of two universities the VLE is no longer used as prominently due to curricular changes. The computing course prior to consolidation was based solely on MATLAB and targeted a different student body – students in all engineering disciplines, most of whom were intending to transfer to _______________, whereas ENGR 1121 is taken exclusively by Mechanical Engineering _____________________ students. Based on the success of MATLAB Marina and the availability of this curated content, these three team members are now partnering with two faculty members from the Department of Mechanical Engineering on the ____________ Campus to expand and use this VLE for all sections of ENGR 1121 and replace the current MATLAB textbook.
This paper describes the initial impressions of students during the period of transitioning from the purchased textbook to using the free online resource for the course. Students will be surveyed on their attitudes and perceptions of the purchased MATLAB textbook (Fall 2020) or free VLE (Spring 2021) and its usefulness in the course as well as a reference for future classes. The surveys will be anonymous and given twice during the semester, when MATLAB is first introduced in the course and at the end of the MATLAB portion of the course. The surveys will include inquiries about study time, specific resource usage, and preferences regarding textbooks versus online materials and consist of a combination of questions using a Likert scale and written comments. Survey results will be used to improve the VLE for subsequent semesters.
Goeser, P. T., & Murphy, T., & Williams, C., & Calamas, D., & Choi, J. (2021, July), MATLAB Marina: The Primary Resource for MATLAB in a Freshmen Computing Applications for Mechanical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37488
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