SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Myela Paige
TIME: Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 2:00 p.m.
PLACE:, Virtual
TITLE: The Impact of Active Learning Interventions on the Student Outcomes in Core Mechanical Engineering Topics
COMMITTEE: Dr. Katherine Fu, Chair (ME)
Dr. Hang (Jerry) Qi (ME)
Dr. Aldo Ferri (ME)
Dr. Gordon Kingsley (PUBP)
Dr. Ruth Poproski (UGA)


The objective of this proposal is to enhance undergraduate education in mechanical engineering using hands-on learning techniques, and specifically, through the incorporation of student interaction with 3D printed and machined parts. Hands-on learning has been shown to be an effective way to not only improve student learning and engagement, but also as a means to retain students within engineering majors, importantly including members of underrepresented groups, such as female students. Complex subjects that impact a person’s ability to apply knowledge in many different industries are mechanics of materials and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T). Most core undergraduate curricula teach mechanics of materials in a highly theoretical manner, mostly using paper textbooks, which include textual definitions and descriptions of key concepts with illustrations to communicate material or structural behavior in given cases. GD&T is not as widely taught but is often taught in the same manner. While these traditional approaches to teaching these fundamental concepts may be sufficient for most students, they do not allow students to develop an intuition for the behavior of materials or manufacturing procedures, and do not foster strong retention of the knowledge acquired in the course. A method has been developed to improve attributes of self-efficacy, student satisfaction, and course performance by incorporating multiple active learning-based modules into the classroom.

The main goal of this research is to provide instructors with active-learning modules to add value to topics that are crucial to the academic and career development of mechanical engineers. It is hypothesized that the modules introduced in the classrooms help increase the self-efficacy, performance scores, and satisfaction of students. This pedagogical approach is applied to various engineering topics to understand the impact, effectiveness, and the flexibility in the active learning-based approach.