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Staged Solutions As A Means Of Learning Via The Internet

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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



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Page Numbers

6.891.1 - 6.891.12

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Edward Anderson

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

Session 2520

Staged Solutions as a Means of Learning via the Internet

Edward E. Anderson Texas Tech University


In engineering fundamentals courses such as Statics, Dynamics, and Fluid Mechanics, learning the process of analysis is as important as the answers. But, when learning over the Internet, teachers are restricted to simple interactions such as multiple choices, select an object, drop and drag, and key word answers. So, how does one teach the process of analysis with these very simple interactions? This paper presents a technique the author calls “Staged Solutions” that attempts to address the learning of higher-level analysis skills. Basically, the concept is to lead the learner through a series of low-level interaction questions that contain all the elements of the analytical process. An example of this approach to teaching problem-solving skills over the Internet as applied to Statics is presented in this paper.

1. Introduction

The primary goal of engineering fundamentals courses, such as Statics, Dynamics, and Thermodynamics, is to develop the analytical skills required to apply concepts learned in courses such as Physics and Mathematics to engineering situations. Secondary goals are to develop mastery of basic concepts, to demonstrate the utility of science and mathematics, and to begin the transformation from student to engineer. Often, these courses are taught in large sections with limited mentoring and feedback. Current pressures to increase teaching efficiency are compounding this situation.

A common means of learning and mastering analytical skills is to have the students learn and use a process that can be applied to large classes of situations. These processes are somewhat course specific and are widely utilized. In Statics, students learn to:

1. Clearly understand the problem 2. Proceed to develop a graphic representation of the problem 3. Apply the force and moment equilibrium principles to the graphical representation 4. Solve the equilibrium equations for the unknown quantities 5. Review the results for reasonableness.

Other courses use similar processes for the purpose of student mastery of analytical skills. While executing the process, students learn or reinforce other skills such as solving algebraic equations, performing integrations, applying engineering definitions, and assigning sign conventions, for example. But, the goal is the mastery of the process.

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

Anderson, E. (2001, June), Staged Solutions As A Means Of Learning Via The Internet Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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