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Stimulating Student Preparation in Introductory Engineering Mechanics

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

MASS: Mastery, Assessment and Success of Students

Tagged Division

Mechanics

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37729

Download Count

48

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Paper Authors

biography

Brad Gregory Davis United States Military Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7985-9421

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Major Brad Davis is an Instructor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. He received his BS in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy, MS in Engineering Management from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include the impact response of structural materials, design of protective structures, and engineering education.

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Kevin Francis McMullen United States Military Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2820-7682

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Kevin McMullen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut. His research interest areas include bridge engineering, protective structures, and engineering education.

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biography

J. Adam Pegues United States Military Academy at West Point

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Mr. Pegues is an instructor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at West Point, and has served in various engineering and management roles in both the public and private sectors. He graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy, and served for more than a decade as a naval aviator in the Navy, flying F/A-18s from aircraft carriers. Mr. Pegues hails from rural Virginia and is married to the former Kathryn Kennedy of Olympia, Washington.

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Abstract

Engineering mechanics is the foundation for an engineering curriculum. It is crucial to comprehend and retain this knowledge to be successful in advanced courses such as structural analysis and machine component design, as well as to pass the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam. The study presented in this paper details the approach taken to replace in-class quizzes with regular out-of-class homework assignments in an introductory engineering mechanics course. The objectives of the study were to: 1) provide students with a variety of problems to apply both new and previous knowledge; 2) encourage engagement with the course material outside of in-person lessons; and 3) teach students to reflect and self-assess their own learning. Eighteen homework assignments were added throughout the thirty-lesson course. Each assignment consisted of two parts; practice problems from previous lessons and conceptual responses based on preparation for the next lesson. At the beginning of each class, students were given the opportunity to assess their own work and clarify any points of confusion. Instructors also provided focused, frequent, and timely digital feedback on these assessments. Instructors graded each assignment based on a holistic evaluation of the students’ comprehension in four domains: 1) approach to problem solving, 2) demonstration of engineering concepts, 3) application of fundamental math concepts, and 4) accuracy and presentation of the final answer. The effectiveness of the assignments was evaluated based on time students engaged with the material outside of class, historical performance on mid-term and final examinations, and student and instructor feedback. The results of the study showed frequent out-of-class assessments allowed students to spend a consistent amount of time with the course material per lesson and reduced the reported study time for midterm and final examinations. Students’ time spent preparing for each lesson increased by 22%, but time spent preparing for examinations decreased by 29%. Student feedback showed regular assessments were a useful tool when preparing for examinations and assisted in learning the material. However, the students’ performance on historical examinations showed negligible impact on comprehension of course topics. Further research is required to evaluate long-term retention.

Davis, B. G., & McMullen, K. F., & Pegues, J. A. (2021, July), Stimulating Student Preparation in Introductory Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37729

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