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Significant Learning Experiences In The Fluid Mechanics Classroom

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Civil Engineering in the Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1129.1 - 11.1129.19



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Paper Authors


Philip Parker University of Wisconsin-Platteville

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Dr. Philip Parker ( is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He received his B.S, M.S., and Ph.D. from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. His teaching interests span the Environmental Engineering field. He is past Program Chair for the ASEE Environmental Engineering Division.

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

Significant Learning Experiences in the Fluid Mechanics Classroom

Abstract This paper will describe recent innovations in the Fluid Mechanics course (CE3300) at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The innovations include learning activities and feedback mechanisms. Specifically, the innovations are: “Challenge Problems”; in-class “physical models”; a “Create-A-Lab” exercise; and an effective grading rubric for laboratory reports.

Significant Learning Experiences In “Creating Significant Learning Experiences” (Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2003) by L. Dee Fink, guidelines are provided to help instructors create significant learning experiences for their students. The basis of Fink’s model is the concept of “integrated course design.” In an integrated course, the Learning Goals, Teaching and Learning Activities, and Feedback and Assessment are all carefully intertwined. For example, the Teaching and Learning Activities are formulated with the Learning Goals in mind; Feedback and Assessment are used to support the Learning Goals and the Teaching and Learning Activities.

According to Fink, significant learning experiences should address significant learning goals. Moreover, Fink describes six kinds of learning goals. To be effective, Teaching and Learning Activities should address several of these kinds of learning goals. The kinds of learning goals are:

Foundational Knowledge consists of the key information and ideas of the course. Application learning pertains to the skills and kinds of thinking students. Integration refers to the ability of students to make connections among ideas within the course and between the current course and other courses or the students’ experiences. Human Dimension goals increase students’ understanding of themselves and their interactions with others. Caring goals hope to create positive attitudes and feelings within students toward a particular course. Learning how to Learn goals help students become self-directed learners. In terms of Fink’s taxonomy, the goal of this project was to create new Teaching and Learning Activities and a new Feedback and Assessment tool. The Teaching and Learning Activities have been designed to address as many of the kinds of learning goals as possible.

Fluid Mechanics

CE3300 (Fluid Mechanics) is a 4-credit course with a two-hour lab and three one-hour lectures each week. This course is required of all civil and environmental engineering students, and is typically taken by junior-level students.

CE3300 is a challenging course for me to teach for many reasons. First, unlike Introduction to Transportation Engineering or Introduction to Environmental Engineering, Fluid Mechanics does not “belong” to any specific discipline area, and so there are no students entering the course with

Parker, P. (2006, June), Significant Learning Experiences In The Fluid Mechanics Classroom Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--779

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