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On Development, Application And Effectiveness Of A Computer Based Tutorial In Engineering Mechanics (Statics)

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.757.1 - 6.757.11



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Masoud Rais-Rohani

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

Session 2793

On Development, Application and Effectiveness of a Computer Based Tutorial in Engineering Mechanics (Statics)

Masoud Rais-Rohani Mississippi State University


This paper describes a computer based tutorial for the first course in engineering mechanics taught at Mississippi State University. It gives an overview of the instructional materials that make up the Statics tier of the Virtual Laboratory for the Study of Mechanics (, and elaborates on the experience of using this tutorial as a supplemental teaching tool in one section of Statics during Fall 2000 semester. It also examines the effectiveness of this computer based instruction method in enhancing students’ performance in the course, and reports on the students’ evaluation of the tutorial.

I. Introduction

The use of computers in engineering education—especially in the area of engineering mechanics1-3— is not new, but a more recent development is the significant shift in technology implementations toward greater use of computers as tools in the learning process rather than as instructional delivery devices. This undoubtedly poses a considerable challenge to the developers of computer based instructional materials (CIMS) who must ensure the pedagogical value of the content while applying the pertinent computer technology. Additional challenges to those developing course specific CIMS are twofold: 1) making the content interesting to students; and 2) incorporating features that are very difficult or even impossible to demonstrate in textbooks or on the chalkboard.

The focus of this paper is on the CIMS developed for the first course in engineering mechanics, commonly known as Statics (EM 2413), taught at Mississippi State University. Of the nine different degree programs offered in the college of engineering, only students in Computer Science and Computer Engineering are exempt from taking Statics. Students in Chemical, Electrical, and Industrial Engineering take Statics without it being a prerequisite to any other course in their degree programs. However, for students in Aerospace, Biological, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering, this is the fundamental course on which many of the higher level courses are based.

With this constituency in mind, the CIMS for Statics were developed as part of a larger Internet based system known as the Virtual Laboratory for the Study of Mechanics (VLSM). The CIMS for Statics consist of five separate modules with each focusing on a particular set of topics taught in the course. The titles of the five modules are as follows: Concurrent Force Systems; Non- Concurrent Force Systems; Trusses, Frames and Machines; Friction; and Geometric Properties of Shapes. Although all modules have elements that can help with demonstration of concepts

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Rais-Rohani, M. (2001, June), On Development, Application And Effectiveness Of A Computer Based Tutorial In Engineering Mechanics (Statics) Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9619

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