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WIP: Hands-on Wednesday (HOW) - An Introduction to Statics Experience

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Making Mechanics Courses Fun and More Effective

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Sarah Wodin-Schwartz P.E. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Prof. Sarah Wodin-Schwartz joined WPI in August 2015. While at UC Berkeley for her Ph.D., Prof. Wodin-Schwartz was a teaching assistant for both mechanical and electrical engineering courses including Introduction to Mechatronics for which she received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. Before joining WPI, Prof. Wodin-Schwartz spent two years at the technical consulting firm Exponent Inc. where she conducted failure analyses and design evaluations for projects ranging from consumer products to power systems. As a consultant she worked with over 75 different clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Prof. Wodin-Schwartz is passionate about teaching core engineering and critical thinking skills that apply to application driven problem solving. She is excited to work with students to help them understand not only the technical skills required of them as engineers but also the social, environmental, and physical implications of implementing technical engineering solutions. Her work with adding context to problems and projects her courses has lead her to receive teaching awards including the Russell M. Searle and Morgan Distinguished Instructorships in Mechanical Engineering, the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award, and the KEEN Rising Star Award.

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Caitlin A. Keller Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Caitlin Keller is the Instructional Designer for Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her primary role involves partnering with faculty to create and develop courses in the online, blended, and face-to-face environments with a focus on inclusive teaching practices and using active engagement as a vehicle for effective student learning. In addition, Caitlin serves as the designer, facilitator, and instructional design consultant for a variety of faculty development initiatives at WPI. Caitlin holds a Master of Science degree in Learning Technologies and Instructional Design from Drexel University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Lebanon Valley College.

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Kimberly LeChasseur Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Dr. Kimberly LeChasseur is a researcher and evaluator with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She holds a dual appointment with the Center for Project-Based Learning and the Morgan Teaching and Learning Center. She holds a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Temple University and has more than ten years of experience researching professional learning of educators and evaluating efforts to improve students' opportunities to learn.

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Abstract The impacts of active learning have been well-documented in STEM education literature; however, few studies attempt to decouple hands-on learning from the catch-all term. In this study, a series of hands-on activities is developed and deployed throughout an Introduction to Statics (Statics) course in an attempt to improve student understanding and confidence in core concepts. In the hands-on class sessions, students interact and experiment with physical representations of previously completed homework problems or brand-new Statics-related scenarios. These experimental setups provide an environment where students can get immediate, physical, feedback based on quantities such as loads applied, distances selected, and or balance points. Data from this 90-student enrolled course were collected using the SALG assessment tool. Hierarchical multiple regression models were constructed to isolate the effects of Hands-On Wednesday after controlling for student background and the effects of attending lecture. While this single study of a single course showed several positive effects of adding hands-on activities to a core engineering course, future studies should be done to observe longitudinal effects as well as outcomes for underrepresented minority groups.

Wodin-Schwartz, S., & Keller, C. A., & LeChasseur, K. (2020, June), WIP: Hands-on Wednesday (HOW) - An Introduction to Statics Experience Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35543

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