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Research On Use Of Cambridge Engineering Selector (Ces4) Software In An Introductory Materials Science Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Integrating Materials and Manufacturing

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1077.1 - 10.1077.11



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Paper Authors

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Chrysanthe Demetry

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

Research on Use of Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES4) Software in an Introductory Materials Science Course Chrysanthe Demetry Worcester Polytechnic Institute

I. Introduction

Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES4) software1 is being used in both educational and professional settings as a tool for design and material selection. Using educational versions of the software, students are able to browse a database of material attributes, learn about and compare different materials in a graphical manner, and select materials using a variety of design criteria. Integration of the software into both elementary and advanced courses has been reported to engage student interest and increase course enrollments.2 After becoming familiar with the functionality of the software, and with some knowledge of psychological type theory, I wondered whether CES4 would appeal especially to student learning styles that are sometimes underserved by the traditional approach to introducing materials science. One would expect that particular learning styles would be better served by an initial introduction to tangible applications than to the more abstract topics of material structure, and by the exploratory, non-linear approach to learning that the software offers. To date, however, it seems that no formal studies have been conducted to investigate how students interact with the software and whether it appeals to some more than others.

In this research I explore student response to and utilization of CES4 software and test hypotheses about how it might be received by students with different learning styles. In a recent offering of a large enrollment introductory course, students were provided with the most basic version (Edu Level 1-2) to augment a traditional textbook. While the content and general approach of the course remained the same as previous offerings, assignments were modified to include questions that drew on CES4 in some way. In addition, students were encouraged to use the software as a resource for an optional course project. Concurrently, students’ learning styles were measured using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and questionnaires were administered to probe the extent to which they used CES4 and their attitudes toward it. These results were analyzed to determine whether use of the software appeals to students who may otherwise struggle with the course because of their learning style.

II. Background on Psychological Type and Learning Styles

Many learning style models have been used successfully to predict or explain differences in student response to subject matter and to teaching and learning environments.3,4 One of the more commonly used instruments with an extensive research base is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is based on Jungian theory of psychological type. Only a brief summary of type

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Demetry, C. (2005, June), Research On Use Of Cambridge Engineering Selector (Ces4) Software In An Introductory Materials Science Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14469

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