The wheel has already been invented: facilitating students' use of existing mechanics resources

Publisher:
The Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Engineering Education 2010 (EE2010): Inspiring the next generation of engineers, 2010, pp. 1 - 6
Issue Date:
2010-01
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We've been teaching engineering mechanics to first year engineering students for a long time, yet at many engineering faculties around the world there are still significant failure rates⦠Educators have tried many different approaches to address persistent high failure rates in first year engineering mechanics courses. These approaches often involve the development of new mechanics learning resources in a variety of styles depending on the perceived learning obstacle. As part of a project funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council on addressing student learning diversity in engineering mechanics we have developed a framework for reviewing these existing learning resources. This framework has been used to create a database of references to resources, categorising them by attributes such as topics covered and depth of coverage, suitable student learning styles, appropriate learner levels, copyright and accessibility issues. While it is anticipated that academics will use the database to complement their normal subject delivery, it has been developed with student users as the main target audience. Student focus groups have shown that independent study can be ineffective, particularly after hours when assistance is unavailable. The aim of this database is to encourage students to be proactive in improving the quality of their learning by assisting them to select learning resources best suited to their needs, in both content and style of delivery. In this paper we describe the elements of the framework used to review engineering mechanics resources, the resultant database of resources, and the planned evaluation of its effectiveness in improving learning outcomes. The authors intend to demonstrate use of the database at the conference.
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