June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1126.1 - 12.1126.10
Online Learning Objects: Do They Enhance Mastery of Mechanical Engineering Concepts?
An expanded study is presented to determine whether the use of online learning objects enhances mastery of key concepts in mechanical engineering. Each course in the department has a defined set of required competencies that each student must satisfy in order to receive a passing grade in the course. Multiple opportunities are provided for satisfying each course competency during the semester, including the final examination.
Three introductory mechanical engineering courses, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics were selected for this study. After introducing the concept underlying the given competency in class, students were assigned a homework set that required the use of an online learning object related to the competency. Mastery of the concept was tested using a competency quiz administered during the next class meeting and multiple-choice problems on the final examination.
The performance of students who had used the online learning objects was compared to that of students in previous semesters who had covered the same material and had been assigned similar homework in the traditional manner of chalkboard and written assignments. Differences in the performances of the two groups will be discussed along with a learning styles assessment conducted for the students in both classes. Also, two online learning objects were selected to assist students for two different concepts in two courses to assess whether the instructors choice of the learning objects was an important factor in helping students master course competencies.
Introduction It has been well established in the literature1-3 that engineering students are typically visual rather than verbal learners. Nonetheless, engineering instructors still rely heavily on the traditional lectures to teach students. While lectures are often accompanied by sketches on the chalkboard or pictures projected onto a screen, the primary instructional tool is still verbal in nature. All too often the instructional approach is still “instructor-centered” rather than “student-centered.”
Accompanying the dramatic rise in the use of the internet in the past ten years has been the development and collection of online learning materials. A learning object is any entity, be it digital or non-digital that may be used for education and/or training4. With regard to online learning, these objects can be comprised of Web pages, portable documents, databases, animations, applets, and movies. Online learning objects are increasingly being used to supplement traditional lectures and are becoming an important foundation to the delivery of online courses. Cost-effective and efficient delivery of online learning tools has become a focus in recent years. Several organizations, activities, and consortia, such as Ariadne5, MERLOT6,
Marchetta, J., & Perry, E. (2007, June), Online Learning Objects: Do They Enhance Mastery Of Mechanical Engineering Concepts? Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2395
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