Asee peer logo

“No-Lecture Fridays” - Engaging Students on a Weekly Basis with Open-Ended Active Learning Problems in an Undergraduate Vibrations Course

Download Paper |


Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference



Publication Date

April 9, 2021

Start Date

April 9, 2021

End Date

April 10, 2021

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jeffrey Koller

visit author page

Jeffrey Koller is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Villanova University. He primarily teaches in the realm of dynamics and controls. His research background lies at the intersection of robotics and biomechanics in the field of control strategies for exoskeletons and prosetheses to aid in walking.

visit author page


Garrett Miles Clayton Villanova University

visit author page

Garrett M. Clayton received his B.S.M.E. from Seattle University and his M.S.M.E. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is an Assistant Professor in mechanical engineering at Villanova University. His research interests focus on mechatronics, specifically modeling and control of scanning probe microscopes and unmanned vehicles.

visit author page

Download Paper |


In math-intensive engineering courses, a traditional, lecture-based style of instruction can lead to a loss of engagement and focus amongst students . Additionally, students often have a hard time connecting the math they learn in the classroom to real-world engineering applications. Conversely, transitioning to a wholly active learning curriculum, or even flipping the classroom, can help demonstrate how the material applies to real-world application problems and yet these approaches can lead to mixed results in learning outcomes . We attempted to strike a middle ground between these two extremes in a mechanical engineering, junior level vibrations course at Villanova University by implementing what we called “no-lecture Fridays.” Each Friday session of class was dedicated to allowing students to work on an open-ended, real-world application of the content presented in the classroom earlier in the week. Students used the full Friday class session to work through these problems in small groups and submitted their solutions to be assessed for credit in the course. These sessions challenged students to approach problems that may not have a single correct solution and think creatively about how they can apply the course content to a unique application. The no-lecture Friday format was implemented during the Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 semesters. In this paper, we will thoroughly explain the no-lecture Friday format, present example problems, and discuss faculty perceptions of the format. We will also include anecdotal evidence that the no-lecture Friday framework was well received among students and hope to further quantify these results using end of the semester survey data pending IRB approval .

Koller, J., & Clayton, G. M. (2021, April), “No-Lecture Fridays” - Engaging Students on a Weekly Basis with Open-Ended Active Learning Problems in an Undergraduate Vibrations Course Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . 10.18260/1-2--36278

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015