Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach


Mechanical Engineering

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Publication/Presentation Date



It has been established that traditional lectures ARE NOT best for student learning – yet that is what the community almost universally does! Furthermore, engineers work in broad multidisciplinary teams while classroom learning is individual and narrow. Yet, educators rarely invest the time and resources necessary to employ such innovations.

In this CCLI type II award we are further refining Desktop Learning Modules (DLMs) within a Cooperative, Hands-on, Active, Problem based, Learning (CHAPL) setting for Chemical, Civil, Mechanical, Bio- and Electrical Engineering courses at a diverse set of institutions, including a community college engaged through a distance learning mode. A workbook is being developed and tested for easier adoption of the hands-on units and accompanying pedagogy. Existing concept inventories are not always showing significant gains in apparent student learning either for control or experimental groups and we are concluding these assessments are not well aligned with the macroscale design calculations being emphasized in the course. Therefore, new concept question assessments are being developed consisting of some macroscale questions from past inventories along with conceptual essay and calculation based questions aligned more specifically with the DLM processes at hand. Past implementations like this show students learn key concepts at least as well from each other in a guided inquiry as they do from lecture. Also, a mixed qualitative / quantitative assessment using a critical reasoning rubric reveals student abilities become better aligned with what is expected of graduating engineers ready for industry and that the CHAPL/DLM environment serves to reinforce understanding of physical phenomena, and to develop analytical and evaluative problem-solving skills. Interviews, surveys and team reports reveal students are better able to visualize concepts and that classroom exercises are promoting team skills and academic rigor. Faculty interviews reveal enhanced awareness of student misconceptions and improved monitoring of student growth in conceptual understanding and interpersonal skills.

The poster and paper will highlight our findings and illustrate the CHAPL environment. Hands-on DLMs with cartridges used in teaching principles in the various disciplines will be demonstrated. A survey will be offered to those viewing the poster to assess potential interest in adoption of the DLMs and in participating in a follow-on NSF Type III proposal for Transforming Undergraduate Engineering Education through use of the DLMs and associated CHAPL pedagogies.


Vancouver, BC

Paper Number

AC 2011-878

Number of Pages


Additional Information

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