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The Use of Computer-based Team Assignments as an Effective Tool in Teaching Mechanics

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Emerging Information Technologies

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1352.1 - 25.1352.10



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Paper Authors


Robert E. Efimba P.E. Howard University

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Robert E. Efimba, Sc.D., P.E., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Howard University in Washington, D.C.. He received his four degrees in civil engineering and structural mechanics from MIT, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. He is listed in Who's Who in Engineering, and is the 2010 National Outstanding Advisor named by Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, and is serving as a Governor of ASCE's Region 2 for 2011-2014. He is a recipient of ASCE's Moisseiff Award for best paper in the field of structural design, and his research area is in finite element appplications to structural design and engineering mechanics education.

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Tori Rhoulac Smith Howard University

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Tori Rhoulac Smith began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Howard University in 2003. In this position, she served as an academic and research advisor, instructor for a variety of undergraduate and graduate engineering courses, and researcher on traffic engineering and engineering education projects. Feeling an overwhelming desire to work more directly on identifying and meeting the needs of increased recruitment, retention, and achievement of traditionally-underrepresented minority students in engineering disciplines, she shifted her career focus and now serves as an instructor and undergraduate education coordinator for the department. Her primary focus is now undergraduate teaching, advising, curriculum, and evaluation. Rhoulac Smith earned master's of science and doctorate of philosophy degrees in civil engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., in 2000 and 2003, respectively. She also earned a bachelor's of science degree in civil engineering from Howard University in 1998.

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The Use of Computer-Based Team Assignments As an Effective Tool in Teaching MechanicsAbstractThe author explores and discusses how he uses computer-based assignments(CBA’s) to promote a better understanding and mastery of the subject matter in thecourses that he teaches in mechanics. The assignments start as early as in Statics,the first course in mechanics, and are continued in Dynamics and even intoMechanics of Materials. In addition to learning the subject matter in a coursethrough the use of computers to solve some relevant, practical, usually open-endedproblems, the students learn to work in teams, albeit sometimes with groans andpains. They also develop and improve their technical writing skills in generating theformal technical reports that are required of them, and are occasionally asked todemonstrate technical presentation skills, again with computer-aided audio-visualsupport. The author presents data to show how the use of CBA’s affects the learningoutcomes in his mechanics courses.

Efimba, R. E., & Rhoulac Smith, T. (2012, June), The Use of Computer-based Team Assignments as an Effective Tool in Teaching Mechanics Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22109

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