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Mechanics Texts Are For Students

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.317.1 - 1.317.7

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Peter A. Rosati

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

Session 1268

Mechanics Texts Are for Students

Peter Rosati, Professor

Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, Canada


A study of student use of their Mechanics text was undertaken in three successive Statics Intersession classes. In each case the Intersession text was different from the one that had been used in the full-time program. The Intersession students, who had also been enrolled in the Full-time course, were in a unique position to compare the two texts.

They were quite definite in their preference for one of the texts and supported their choice with both quantitative assessments and descriptive comments. The students also reported the specific use they had made of the course text and their lecture notes at various stages during the course.


There are many good Mechanics text books available for instructors to adopt in their courses. Instructors usually choose a text that not only covers the required topics in sufficient detail for completeness but is also one that they consider to be written at an appropriate level for the students. At the end of the course, instructors might solicit student feedback on whether the text was in fact useful. They rarely, however, get the opportunity to ask their students to compare two texts. Such an opportunity existed for each of the years 1993, 1994 and 1995 at The University of Western Ontario where the students in the Intersession class used a different Mechanics text from the one they had used in the Full-time program. This paper summarises the student comments on how they used the Mechanics text at various stages in the course and also on their comparison of the two texts and why they found one of the texts more pleasing.


Most of the students in the Intersession Mechanics course at The University of Western Ontario are students who have dropped the Full-time course or who did not complete it successfully. By adopting an Intersession Mechanics text for each of the three years 1993, 1994 and 1995 that was different from the text used in the Full-time program it was possible to get comparative student opinions of the two texts. Table 1 shows how the Intersession text was different from the Full-time text for each of the three years.

The intersession course is an intensive three-week course with lectures and tutorial classes each day. The course instructors and the method of course presentation also changed from year to year. In 1993 the

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Rosati, P. A. (1996, June), Mechanics Texts Are For Students Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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