Physical and computer demonstrations in enhancing student understanding of structural mechanics courses

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Title Physical and computer demonstrations in enhancing student understanding of structural mechanics courses
Author Guan, Hong; Gilbert, Benoit
Publication Title Proceedings of the 2011 AAEE Conference
Editor Yasir M. Al-Abdeli and Euan Lindsay
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Barton ACT, Australia
Publisher Engineers Australia
Abstract Structural Engineering, a highly technical discipline, includes foundation knowledge for a range of engineering professions and is traditionally restricted by rigorous accreditation requirements. Focused in this paper are fundamental and analytical courses in structural engineering and mechanics. These courses are generally perceived by most students as challenging at times due firstly to complicated theory and analysis concepts covered and secondly the difficulties associated with visualising how structures behave when subjected to loads. In order to help students visualise the behaviour of structures and to better understand difficult and abstract concepts, complex methodologies and computational procedures, we have endeavoured to produce a series of scaled-down physical models, hands-on demonstration and digital animation tools as visual aids, with explanations of the matching concepts and calculations being covered. This approach has been highly valued by all students. Despite the difficulty of structural mechanics content, students still find these courses challenging but also interesting and enjoyable which contributes to motivating students and maximising their learning abilities, as evident in student evaluations. This paper presents the methods used at Griffith University and the learning objectives behind them. In view of the positive feedback received from the students, this paper concludes that future research will be undertaken to quantify the efficiency of using visual demonstrations in structural mechanics courses.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://www.aaee.com.au/conferences/2011/index.html
Alternative URI http://www.aaee.com.au/conferences/2011/papers/AAEE2011/PDF/AUTHOR/AE110047.PDF
Copyright Statement Copyright remains with the authors 2011. The attached file is posted here with permission of the copyright owner[s] for your personal use only. No further distribution permitted. For information about this conference please refer to the publisher’s website or contact the authors.
ISBN 9780858259980
Conference name Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AAEE) 2011 Conference
Location Fremantle, Western Australia
Date From 2011-12-05
Date To 2011-12-07
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/43554
Date Accessioned 2012-01-25
Date Available 2012-09-02T23:06:12Z
Language en_US
Research Centre Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Management
Faculty Faculty of Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology
Subject Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Publication Type Conference Publications (Full Written Paper - Refereed)
Publication Type Code e1

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