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An assessment of on-line engineering design problem presentation strategies

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6 Author(s)
Renshaw, A.A. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Columbia Univ., New York, NY, USA ; Reibel, J.H. ; Zukowski, C.A. ; Penn, K.
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This paper describes the assessment of three on-line learning modules in engineering design for first-year students developed at Columbia University. The assessment includes results from more than 200 students who used test and control versions of each module during the 1996-1997 academic year. The goal of the assessment was to identify presentation formats and strategies for on-line engineering design problems that improved student performance on the design problem or on a short paper and pencil follow-up quiz taken immediately after module use. Students nearly unanimously preferred modules that incorporated animation and interactive design tools over those with static snapshots of the same material. Interactive design tools also improved performance on the design problems. However, performance on the follow-up quizzes did not vary among student cohorts regardless of presentation format. Similarly, although students generally enjoyed and valued group work activities, and although these experiences frequently increased students' confidence in their answers, follow-up quiz performance was not enhanced by group work activities. In an unanticipated result, students were twice as likely to sketch their answers when the module itself contained animated illustrations rather than static graphic material. This result suggests that computer-based learning tools can significantly affect the character and texture of students' representation of their own ideas in manners that do not emerge from traditional performance measures

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 2 )