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This study investigates the impact of the computer-based instructional tool MecMovies on learning in an applied mechanics of materials course in civil engineering technology at Rochester Institute of Technology. MecMovies are animated movies that explain different mechanics of materials concepts and provide on-screen drills to reinforce those concepts. Limited data available from prior studies evaluating the software indicate a generally positive response from students regarding use of this tool and some improvement in learning. This paper further investigates the effectiveness of MecMovies for improving student understanding when used as a supplement to the more traditional teaching method of lectures and textbook assignments. In this study weekly course assignments in applied mechanics of materials included completion of relevant MecMovie modules to reinforce concepts presented in lecture before students solved traditional textbook problems. The impact of the software on student learning is evaluated by comparing weekly homework and quiz scores, as well as final examination grades, for a class that used MecMovies versus a class that did not. In addition, student feedback regarding the software is presented based on weekly surveys. Conclusions are drawn about the impact of MecMovies on student performance and learning.
Date of Conference: 10-13 Oct. 2007