Asee peer logo

Use Of Multimedia Case Studies In An Introductory Course In Mechanical Engineering

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teaching Mechanical Systems: What's New

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1307.1 - 15.1307.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Ashok Kumar Manoharan Auburn University

visit author page

Ashok Kumar Manoharan is a Doctoral Student in Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University. He received his B.S from Anna University, India in 2006. He has been working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Mechanical Engineering course for the past two years. His research areas include Innovations in Teaching Engineering, Adoption techniques for Implementing new teaching methodologies.

visit author page


P.K. Raju Auburn University

visit author page

P.K Raju is a Thomas Walter Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University and has more than 42 years of experience in teaching and research. In addition to consulting for the United Nations and several industries, he has developed an excellent team in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering that has successfully organized and implemented multi-media case studies in several departments. He has run numerous national conferences and is the Director of Auburn Engineering Technical Assistance Program.In order to promote engineering education research, Dr. Raju also edits and publishes the Journal of
STEM Education: Innovations and Research since 2000 (

visit author page

author page

Chetan Sankar Auburn University

Download Paper |

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

Use of Multimedia Case Studies in an Introductory Course in Mechanical Engineering


Many of the core concepts in engineering are complex andprecise. Hence, university students taking introductory classes in engineering, even those with high entry qualifications, often have difficulty learning these concepts and applying them to problem-solving tasks. This problem is more pronounced when the class size is large1. The National Academy of Engineering2 recommends that universities should address how students learn in addition to what they learn in order to ensure that student learning outcomes focus on the performance characteristics needed in future engineers. This paper addresses how case study–based instructional strategy has been used as an effective tool in an Introductory Course in Mechanical Engineering (ENGR 1110) at the freshman level to overcome these problems. This instructional strategy has been in use during the past three semesters at Auburn University, and the evaluation results show that the students involved obtained a thorough understanding of the engineering concepts and also improved their soft skills, including team working, communication, and ethical and problem solving skills. In-depth information about the evaluation results, course map and instructional strategy are provided in this paper.


Engineering curricula have experimented with multiple methodologies that expose students to real-world problems. There are also deep concerns about American international competitiveness, amid indications that the U.S. is doing a relatively poor job at retaining and training students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines14. Too many talented students get the impression from introductory courses that engineering is simply a collection of facts to be memorized and consequently drop out with little understanding or appreciation of what science is all about3. Furthermore, the types of problems students often solve in classrooms using the traditional teaching approach do not necessarily prepare them for the real-world problems they will encounter as engineers. Real-world problems are complex and ill-structured, often have conflicting goals and no clear solution, and can be presented in a number of ways 4. Yadav et al.13 found that there was no significant difference between traditional lecture and case teaching method on improving students’ conceptual understanding of engineering subjects. However, the use of case studies made the content more relevant to the students by informing them about what engineers do

So in order to give students an opportunity to receive this much-needed exposure to real- world problems, an instructional strategy was developed. This strategy used real-world case studies developed by the Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE) at Auburn University. This paper discusses how these case studies have been used to (a) develop specific student capabilities and (b) help students learn certain engineering principles and apply them to solve problems occurring in real-world situations.

Manoharan, A. K., & Raju, P., & Sankar, C. (2010, June), Use Of Multimedia Case Studies In An Introductory Course In Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16485

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015