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Supplemental Learning Tools for Statics and Strength of Materials

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Teaching Statics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1356.1 - 22.1356.18



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Paper Authors


Cliff J. Lissenden Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Cliff J. Lissenden, Ph.D. (University of Virginia, 1993) is a professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State. In addition to teaching engineering mechanics courses ranging from sophomore level statics to graduate level mechanical behavior of materials, he researches structural health monitoring for aerospace, mechanical, and civil infrastructure applications. He is a member of ASEE, ASNT, ASME, ASCE, ASM, SES, and Sigma Xi.

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Christine B. Masters Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Christine Masters is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at the Pennsylvania State University. In between raising for great kids with her husband of 24 years, she has been teaching large enrollment statics and strength of materials courses for the last 10 years and loves every minute of it!

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Samia A. Suliman Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Samia Suliman, Ph.D., (Penn State, 2002) is an assistant professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State. I addition to teaching engineering mechanics courses she teaches foundational and advanced nano/micro electronics courses. Her research area is power semiconductor devices. she is a member of ASEE, IEEE, NSBE, and AAUW.

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Roxanne Toto Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Roxanne Toto is an instructional designer and e-Learning Support Specialist for the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at the Pennsylvania State University, where she works with faculty to implement and assess teaching and learning innovations. Her research interests include instructional design for emerging technologies and assessment of learning in technological environments.

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Supplemental learning tools for statics and strength of materialsWouldn’t it be great to have one more day in statics to try an interactive problem with studentsduring class on something they struggle with (like 3D vectors and moments) without having tosacrifice by doing less example problems? Or have you ever wished your students would cometo class at the start of a new unit (like stress transformations) having looked at the topic and withquestions based on what they don’t initially understand? We may be able to offer some help!Tools have been developed to support learning in statics and strength of materials courses. Theintent of the tools is to supplement lectures, textbook, and homework. The tools include (i) twotypes of videos (concepts and examples) created using the Camtasia software and (ii) multiplechoice practice problems based on the FE Exam.The concept-based videos are multi-part modules explaining the key aspects of a core coursetopic, for example stress transformation. Each part of the video is limited to six minutes in anattempt to maintain the viewer’s attention. The purpose of each module is to ease, not replace,the burden of concept development in class so that more class time can be spent activelyapplying the concept. Students can watch a video prior to class as a preview, and then refer backto it when solving homework problems, and preparing for an exam. A consistent theme betweenthe various parts of the video module is maintained by three different instructor narrators. Whilethis was challenging for production, it should increase the likelihood of adoption by engineeringmechanics educators with various instructional preferences. The example problem videos areapplication exercises worked out on a tablet PC where the video captures the pen strokes of thesolution as an instructor’s voice-over recording explains the thought process involved in eachstep. These problems can be started in class as an interactive activity without the burden ofhaving to complete the problem during class. After starting the problem in groups, students canbe assigned to complete the problem out of class then access the video solution to see if theycompleted the problem correctly. Perhaps the most valuable feature of these videos is thatstudents can easily play them back and fast forward them to specific points of interest.In addition to the two types of videos, multiple choice problems similar to Fundamentals inEngineering exam problems have been developed in spreadsheet form and are currently beingimplemented within our course management system. Distracter answers are provided based oncommon errors, allowing the instructor to set up feedback to the student identifying the errormade if a student selects an incorrect answer choice. These problems can be used as out-of-classquizzes, supplemental problems, review problems for exams, or for collaborative learning inclass.Both types of learning support tools (videos and multiple choice problems) are being employedfor the first time in two courses on statics and strength of materials during the Fall 2010semester. This paper will present details of the development of the tools as well as evaluation ofassessments acquired during use and at the end of the semester.

Lissenden, C. J., & Masters, C. B., & Suliman, S. A., & Toto, R. (2011, June), Supplemental Learning Tools for Statics and Strength of Materials Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18876

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