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Utilizing a MOOC to Assess Student Understanding of Fundamental Principals in Combined Static Loading

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Learning and Assessment in ME 2

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kathryn Anne Wingate Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Kathryn Wingate started as an Academic Professional in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering in the summer of 2014. She received a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a BS in Astronomy from the University of Illinois in 2005. After graduation she went to work for Northrop Grumman Space Technology in Redondo Beach, California. In her time at Northrop Grumman Kathryn served as a material scientist specializing in the failure analysis of microelectronics on several defense satellite programs. In 2009 she left industry to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado, where her research focused on the development of novel biomaterials for cardiovascular tissue engineering. At the GWW School of Mechanical Engineering, Kathryn teaches the junior level Machine Design and senior level Capstone Design courses, as well as advises the BSMS students. In October 2016 she will release a Machine Design MOOC on the Coursera platform, focusing on static and fatigue failure analysis techniques.

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Robert Kadel Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Rob Kadel is Assistant Director for Research in Education Innovation with the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. His research spans nearly 20 years, including evaluating the effectiveness of learning technologies at both the K-12 and higher ed. levels. Rob brings to C21U research foci in online pedagogy and effective practices, alternative learning spaces, learning analytics, and tools/strategies to help close the digital divide for economically disadvantaged students. He has presented both nationally and internationally on cutting-edge learning technologies and managing grants, programs, and research in their use. Rob held faculty positions at Penn State University and Johns Hopkins University prior to running his own educational technology research consulting firm for seven years. He continues to teach online courses in the sociology of education, criminology, and juvenile delinquency for the University of Colorado Denver. Rob earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Emory University in 1998.

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Amanda G. Madden C21U

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This research effort utilizes a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to develop high quality assessments testing student knowledge of fundamental concepts in combined static loading. A MOOC is an ideal platform for assessment development as it has a large sample size of diverse students, begins a new session every four weeks, and stores copious amounts of data on student performance. This MOOC first covers material selection, then teaches static loading, and finally examines fatigue failure theories. In this study, subject experts identify five fundamental concepts critical to understanding combined static loading. A pre-quiz tests each of these principles individually and is given prior to any instruction on combined static loading. A post quiz assessing each of these concepts individually, as well as a student’s ability to combine the concepts is given after two weeks of instruction. Difficulty indices and discrimination scores for pre-and post- quiz questions are calculated to determine which concepts are the most difficult, and which concepts best discriminate between high- and low-performing students. It is found that in combined static loading cases, students are easily able to determine the cross sectional area to utilize when calculating an axial stress, but struggle to determine the direction stresses act in or identify all of the types of stresses present at a point. Preliminary analysis suggests students who are able to identify the correct cross sectional area to calculate stresses with have a much higher final course grade than students who are not able to do this. Interestingly, a student's ability to grasp a fundamental concept did not seem to have a huge impact on whether or not they completed the MOOC.

Wingate, K. A., & Kadel, R., & Madden, A. G. (2017, June), Utilizing a MOOC to Assess Student Understanding of Fundamental Principals in Combined Static Loading Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29097

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