- Cioc, Carmen; Haughton, Noela A; Wojciechowski, Christopher; Cioc, Sorin
- The Engineering Mechanics Statics course is one of the fundamental courses in our Mechanical Engineering Technology program and is a prerequisite course for the Strengths of Materials and Dynamics courses. The primary objective of the course is to provide the ability to investigate and solve trusses, frames, and mechanisms under static equilibrium conditions. A good understanding of these concepts is essential for solving a wide range of mechanics problems. The paper describes the authors’ effort to enhance the students’ knowledge of statics concepts through a variety of in-class activities, including peer-assisted learning, in the form of in-class assignments solved by students in small groups. A minimum of 15 minutes per class were dedicated to such problem-solving strategies, which was time well spent as the results showing the improved student’s knowledge of the subject matter are extremely encouraging. In addition, to encourage participation of all students and discussions between the group’s members, the students were required to submit at the end of the exercise a brief record of the conversations they held to solve the given problem. This strategy was briefly introduced during the spring 2017 semester and was broadened in the spring 2018 semester. Results before and after such learning experiences are presented for different student learning outcomes. For example, on the topic of calculating the resultant of multiple concurrent forces, the class average during spring 2018 semester was 97% compared with 70% during spring 2017 and 62% for spring 2015. Spring 2015 serves as pre-PAL baseline. Benefits, limitations, and future directions are also discussed.