Teaching Engineering Mechanics in a Problem-Structured Enviroment.

Newtonian mechanics forms the basis for virtually the entire civil engineering undergraduate curriculum. The core courses in mechanics have traditionally been taught as independent entities within a prescribed sequence. The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Villanova University is developing a trio of four-credit courses that will present engineering mechanics as a continuum of concepts rather than a series of discrete courses. The key concepts covered in the traditional courses will be retained, but the concepts will be rearranged in a more meaningful manner by grouping them to enable the students to solve common civil engineering problems. One of the major objectives of the integrated courses is to make courses problem-oriented. Concepts from different areas of mechanics will be integrated together into thematic groupings that can be related to “over-arching” problems. The problems help the students visualize how the principles fit together to enable engineers to solve the problem, and serve as a framework to introduce students to engineering mechanics. In traditional mechanics courses students solve numerous independent problems that tend to highlight a single concept. The integrated courses will illustrate to the student how the concepts complement one another to provide a comprehensive solution. The students will view engineering mechanics as a versatile modeling tool rather than a series of isolated principles. The paper summarizes some of the work to date including learning objectives, assessment protocols and course development.

Main Author: Glynn, Edward F.
Other Authors: Dinehart, David W., Gross, Shawn P., Hampton, Francis P., Wadzuk, Bridget M.
Language: English
Published: 2007
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:175765