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Teaching Mechanics To Freshmen By Linking The Lecture Course To A Design Course

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.590.1 - 5.590.9



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Paper Authors

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J. Nazalewicz

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H. Hadim

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D. Donskoy

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B. Gallois

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Keith Sheppard

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

Session 2468

Teaching Mechanics to Freshmen by Linking the Lecture Course to a Design Course H. Hadim, D. Donskoy, K. Sheppard, B. Gallois and J. Nazalewicz Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, New Jersey 07030


Stevens Institute of Technology recently revised the Engineering Curriculum to include an expanded design course sequence, having a design course each semester to form a Design Spine. The Design Spine allows development of many of the “soft skills” demanded of engineering graduates, as embodied in ABET EC Criteria 2000, by evolving them over the four years of the design sequence. Examples include effective team skills, project management, communications, ethics, economics of engineering, etc. It is also a means to enhance learning, as each of the design courses is linked to engineering courses taught concurrently. Students see this strong linkage for the first time in the second semester of the freshman year when they take Mechanics of Solids concurrently with Engineering Design II. Mechanics of Solids is a four-credit lecture/recitation course that integrates the topics of statics and strength of materials courses that were taught separately in the previous curriculum. In the two-credit Engineering Design II course, students undertake a series of four experiments and two design projects to reinforce concepts from the mechanics of solids lecture course through hands-on experience. The main objectives of this approach include integration of design and other engineering practice skills (according to ABET EC Criteria 2000) into engineering mechanics and improved teaching of engineering mechanics to freshmen. The main components included in this integrated teaching approach and a preliminary assessment of its effectiveness so far are presented.

I. Introduction

Under the guidance of the ABET engineering criteria 2000, recent trends in engineering education have led to increased integration of design and other important engineering practice skills (e.g. multidisciplinary teamwork, project management, communications, ethics, economics of engineering, etc.) into the engineering curriculum. To integrate design and other components into the mechanics courses, various methods have been used by several institutions ranging from simple modifications (such as including one or more design projects) to a complete restructuring of the engineering mechanics courses. The approach adopted at the University of Washington1 combines a variety of both new and old techniques, which include design projects, group work, basic competency exams, computer-assisted tools, hands-on experiences and student presentations. At the University of Missouri Rolla2, the design content is integrated into the sophomore and junior level mechanics courses through practical group design projects. In the new curriculum being developed at the University of Maryland3, the integration of statics and

Nazalewicz, J., & Hadim, H., & Donskoy, D., & Gallois, B., & Sheppard, K. (2000, June), Teaching Mechanics To Freshmen By Linking The Lecture Course To A Design Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8752

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