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Unified Lecture Software For Statics, Dynamics, And Mechanics Of Deformable Bodies

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Labs, Demos and Software in Mechanics

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1374.1 - 10.1374.10



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Paper Authors

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Scott Hendricks

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L. Glenn Kraige

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Don Morris

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

Session 3568

Unified Lecture Software for Statics, Dynamics, and Mechanics of Deformable Bodies

L. Glenn Kraige, Scott L. Hendricks, and Don H. Morris W. S. "Pete" White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education/ Associate Professor/Professor and Assistant Department Head Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg VA 24061 USA


The history and current budget-driven challenges of teaching the basic engineering mechanics sequence are reviewed. In particular, necessary changes in lecture delivery caused by the reluctant decision to change from small to large sections are described. Newly developed lecture software for statics, dynamics, and mechanics of deformable bodies, designed to be used both in class by the instructor and online by the student, is presented.


The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech consists of eleven departments with the total number of incoming freshmen engineering students being about 1000. For many decades, the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics has been responsible for teaching three undergraduate mechanics service courses (statics, dynamics, and mechanics of deformable bodies) to the students in most of these departments. Ten years ago, the philosophy for teaching these courses was to keep the number of students in a section to between 30 and 50 and to have only full-time faculty teach these sections. With enough faculty, which the department was fortunate enough to have at the time, it was possible to teach the service courses in this format, teach departmental courses for the undergraduate mechanics majors, and provide a robust offering of graduate courses, all while maintaining a very reputable funded research program in a number of fields.

Unfortunately, as has been the case in many other parts of the United States over the past ten years or so, funding levels for education in the Commonwealth of Virginia have been reduced considerably. This trend has accelerated over the last several years. As part of the reduced funding, faculty have been offered inducement packages to retire early, the number of positions for graduate teaching assistants, who are normally used to grade homework, have been reduced, and new faculty hiring has been curtailed. In addition, legislators have required that tuition increases be kept to a minimum. The number of students allowed to enroll in the College of Engineering has not been reduced proportionately. Two or three years ago, an examination of the teaching schedule in the department in any particular semester would reveal that about one-

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Hendricks, S., & Kraige, L. G., & Morris, D. (2005, June), Unified Lecture Software For Statics, Dynamics, And Mechanics Of Deformable Bodies Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14154

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