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Advances in Engineering Education, v3 n1 Win 2012

This paper describes the creation and evolution of an undergraduate dynamics and vibrations course for civil engineering students. Incorporating vibrations into the course allows students to see and study "real" civil engineering applications of the course content. This connection of academic principles to real life situations is in itself a critical learning stage for the students, and addressing the creation of these connections led to the incorporation of active demonstrations into the course. The course also focuses on developing skills through various active learning strategies that can be transferred to other non-structural engineering courses, such as problem solving and critical thinking, as well as ABET skills such as teamwork and the utilization of computer tools. This paper presents how designing a course structure and implementation with the explicit consideration of developing these critical skills aids students in mastering both course content and in enhancing their educational development. Results of increased student performance due to the synthesis of strategies incorporated into the course are presented, including performance in a later course as well as in the dynamics portion of the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Descriptors: Civil Engineering, Undergraduate Study, Program Development, Undergraduate Students, Course Content, Relevance (Education), Skill Development, Active Learning, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Teamwork, Educational Technology, Program Effectiveness, Cooperative Learning, Mechanics (Physics), Curriculum Development, Teaching Methods, Student Projects, Demonstrations (Educational), Communities of Practice, Student Surveys, Qualitative Research

American Society for Engineering Education. 1818 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 412-624-6815; Fax: 412-624-1108; Web site:

Autor: Barroso, Luciana R.; Morgan, James R.


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