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Research Experiences For Undergraduate Engineering Students: How It Can Be Done Effectively

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.528.1 - 5.528.10



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Anant Kukreti

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

Session 1368

Computer-Based Learning Modules For Rigid Body Mechanics Musharraf Zaman, Anant R. Kukreti University of Oklahoma


The use of computer-based modules in teaching and learning some of the difficult to comprehend concepts in mechanics can be very beneficial for both students and instructors. The Vector module discussed in this paper was developed and used by the authors to introduce the concepts associated with the mathematical operations and use of vectors to solve engineering problems including evaluation of vector components, addition, dot and cross products, projection, and unit vectors. The impact of using computer-based modules in a required sophomore-level engineering course, Rigid Body Mechanics, was assessed by special student evaluations. Students’ learning capability is generally positively impacted by computer-based modules, and the level of impact varies greatly among students.

I. Introduction

An exponential growth in the computer software industry in recent years and availability of numerous user-friendly software packages have created a unique opportunity for engineering educators to develop and use computer-based learning tools. Buret et al.3 developed a computer- aided education (CAE) package to visualize the magnetostatic field in and around the magnetic circuit of a double U-shaped contactor. The modeling of this device was performed by solving in real time a nonlinear finite element problem. From a pedagogical point of view, the package was found to be efficient when used in parallel with a classical lecture. The UMass Amherst tutor team developed a multimedia “injection molding tutor” capable of training a user how to produce cost effective injection molded part designs8. The tutor provides visually stimulating animations that clearly illustrate the relationship between part geometry and the tooling required to produce the part. Hansen et al.5 developed a PC-based diesel engine simulator to supplement existing undergraduate laboratory instruction, so that students could establish a thorough understanding of the response of the engine. Feedback from undergraduates and instructors who evaluated the simulator was very positive. It was regarded as a valuable interactive educational tool. An interactive graphics-based system was employed by Stevenson11 to rapidly solve statics problems and enhance students’ analytic capabilities. Ability to visualize and intuitively evaluate problems was found to complement and sharpen students’ analytical prowess.

Gramoll and Abbanat4 reported the development, implementation, and functionality of an interactive multimedia program designed to assist students in learning basic concepts in engineering dynamics. In this example-based learning process, each example consisted of four parts: Introduction, Theory, Solution, and Simulation. The first three parts introduce a problem to the user, while the fourth part allows them to experiment with a computer-generated simulation of the problem. Computer animation as a tool for learning “Engineering Design/ Graphics Concepts” was discussed by Bradley and Sidler2. The following elements were

Kukreti, A. (2000, June), Research Experiences For Undergraduate Engineering Students: How It Can Be Done Effectively Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8667

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