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Using Computer Modeling Problems For Undergraduate Engineering Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Introducing Programming in the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1321.1 - 15.1321.11



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Paper Authors

author page

Steven Gordon The Ohio State University

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

Using Computer Modeling Problems for Undergraduate Engineering Education Abstract

Modeling and simulation can be used to implement inquiry-based learning in engineering courses that actively involve students in the learning process, improve their problem-solving skills, and encourage them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. This approach was used in the creation of a thirteen day workshop for college credit for high school juniors and seniors intended to establish basic modeling and simulation skills, the importance of modeling to the solution of engineering problems, understanding of the underlying mathematics, and consideration of careers in STEM fields. We summarize the content of the course and the final projects undertaken by the students.

Pre- and post-course surveys were used along with student responses to open-ended journal prompts to gauge the success of the course. There was significant positive change in the percentage of students seeking STEM careers and their confidence in using MATLAB to explore challenging problems via modeling. Students also indicated they were engaged by the course material and felt better prepared for college. Other responses supported the goals of the workshop to improve the participation in STEM careers.

One limitation to the widespread adoption of this approach over traditional lectures is the resources needed to create the instructional materials. We discuss example programs that have assembled and evaluated instructional materials in computational science and engineering. These include a National Science Foundation funded digital library as well as several other projects that have assembled datasets, models, and exercises that can readily be adopted in a variety of engineering classes. Sharing such materials should reduce the barriers to adoption and encourage more faculty to undertake this approach to instruction.

Gordon, S. (2010, June), Using Computer Modeling Problems For Undergraduate Engineering Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16179

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