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Motivating Students In An Introduction To Computing Course By Requiring Animated Solutions

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Student Learning and Teamwork

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.938.1 - 11.938.12



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Paper Authors


David Myszka University of Dayton

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Dave Myszka is a Professor of Engineering Technology at the University of Dayton. Dave is a Registered Professional Mechanical Engineer in Ohio and is actively involved in applied research with industry. Dave received a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1985 and 1989, respectively. He also received an M.B.A. degree from the University of Dayton in 1996.

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

Motivating Students in an Introduction to Computing Course by Requiring Animated Solutions. David Myszka Engineering Technology University of Dayton


Technical computations is a vital skill for most engineering positions. Nearly every technical program requires some form of a computing course. Yet, students typically struggle with motivation and enthusiasm for these courses In an attempt to provide extra incentive, students in an first-year technical computing course at the University of Dayton were required to animate their solution. It was observed that the students found great deal of satisfaction with achieving visual output. Students still performed classic introductory engineering calculations, but they were giving significant extra effort so they can watch their solution. This paper documents our strategy, gives examples of the computer programs, and reviews the encouraging results of student satisfaction surveys.


Numerical and computer solutions of technical problems have become a principle part of an engineering position. For decades, computer programming has been a fundamental part of the first year in both engineering and engineering technology curriculum. In the past, most institutions outsourced these courses to a computer science department. More recently, and in an effort to demonstrate applications to different technical disciplines, most institutions evolved to having these courses taught by engineering faculty (Gottfried, 1996).

Traditionally, high-level programming languages were used such as Fortran or C. With the development of computational tools, many institutions are moving towards using spreadsheets, VisualBasic for Applications or mathematical computation tools such as MATLAB, MATHCAD, and Maple (Howard, 2005).

In addition to learning computer programming as an essential skill, students can improve their logical reasoning and quantitative problem solving abilities. Additionally, this introductory class has the capability to introduce students to different engineering disciplines. Yet, several studies show that these courses often fall short of expectations (Gottfried, 1996, ). Today’s students assert modest effort in these computing courses, and are not motivated to complete and debug programs (Jermann, 1996). Quite frankly, they find traditional programming to be dry, boring and irrelevant. Many techniques have been attempted to stimulate interest (Gottfried, 1997, Bowen, 2004, Said, 2004, Naraghi, 2001).

Myszka, D. (2006, June), Motivating Students In An Introduction To Computing Course By Requiring Animated Solutions Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--213

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