New pedagogical approaches in engineering mechanics yield increased student understanding, confidence, and commitment

  • Ellis G
  • Scordilis G
  • Cooke C
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Abstract

The Picker Engineering Program at Smith College has formed a close partnership with Smith's Department of Education and Child Study and Department of Educational Outreach in an effort to fundamentally change the delivery of the engineering curriculum. This paper presents learner-centered educational strategies used in Continuum Mechanics I, a course that includes topics from engineering statics, dynamics, and mechanics of materials. Pedagogical elements used in this course include a variety of active learning strategies in the classroom, conceptual frameworks and narratives, project-based learning, metacognitive approaches, and an explicit effort to make a connection with other subjects in the liberal arts. An assessment of these strategies based upon the responses of 27 women who have taken the course is presented and shows that these strategies are effective in positively influencing student learning and attitudes.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Active learning
  • Assessment
  • Learner-centered
  • Mechanics
  • Metacognitive

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Authors

  • Glenn W. Ellis

  • Gail E. Scordilis

  • Carla M. Cooke

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