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der IMECE 2015

Die von der ASME organisierte "International Mechanical Engineering Congress&Exposition 2015" findet vom 13.-19.11.2015 in Houston, Texas statt. Dort wird Matthias Wangenheim einen Vortrag zum mit dem Titel "Better Learning Success in Engineering Mechanics" zum Thema Lernerfolg im  Fach Technische Mechanik halten.


Motivation: Engineering mechanics is a compulsory course for every student in an engineering study program at Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH), i.e. approximately 1600 students each year. It is a course over four semesters (statics, elastostatics, kinetics and kinematics, dynamics). Teaching this vast amount of students is shared between three full professors and a number of scientific assistants/PhD-students. On the one hand we receive good marks in the semiannual anonymous evaluations by our students. On the other hand the failure rate (>50%) in engineering mechanics exams (written at the end of each semester) is too high. Furthermore the engineering study programs at LUH suffer from a comparably high rate of student withdrawal. One reason is the new learning environment for students in the first semesters. We wish to increase the quality of our study programs by changing significant sequences of the learning-teaching process in additional tutorials in basic study situations. Background: Traditionally engineering mechanics in Hannover is taught in three different ways during the week: 1. Lecture (90 min) – The professor explains the theory of engineering mechanics including mathematical derivations. This course is classical “chalk and talk” on the blackboard or written by hand on tablet computer and video projector. Simple mechanical systems are given as examples and calculated; sometimes small topic-related videos from engineering practice are shown.
2. Large auditorium tutorial (45 min)– a scientific assistant/PhD-student takes 10 to 15 minutes to repeat in his own words the relevant parts of theory taught in the lecture the day before. Afterwards an extensive exercise is calculated and explained in parallel on a tablet computer with video projector.
3. Tutorials (90 min) – a scientific assistant leads this course together with an experienced student. In comparably small rooms (30 – 60 students) two exercises are solved by the following cycle. For approx. 5 min the assistant gives a brief introduction to the theory required for this task, often in the form of a “cooking recipe”. Then the students try to solve the exercise on their own or in small groups, while they can call both tutors to help them at any time. In addition, the tutors walk around and proactively try to support the students. This period takes about 25 min. Within the next 15 min, one of the tutors writes a solution for the exercise onto the blackboard while commenting the steps orally. Depending on the group, only 10 – 50 % of the students actively take part in this course. The majority is waiting passively until the tutors present the solution. Measures: To improve the learning success in engineering mechanics, the faculty of mechanical engineering has started a large internal two-year project including internal and external experts in didactics and methodology. Our hypothesis is that for better learning success activation and motivation of the students have to be increased. The first actions we developed within the project are based on the concept of learner centered didactics:
• Seminar-style: involving students by different didactic methods (group work, peer teaching, etc.) during the course
• Increase intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm for the exercise by introducing each task with a related example from an engineer’s life after study (e.g. liability case, design task)
• Professional training of all tutors and scientific assistants in methodologies, role perception, etc.
• Revision of exercise book: less mathematics, more mechanics
• Additional digital learning programs
• The teaching staff will share their individual knowledge in workshops to focus on the learning process and develop and integrate new methods Efficiency control: We plan to utilize three different means to monitor the project progress and success: At first we can have a look on the failure rates of future exams. Secondly we can use the evaluation questionnaires to get direct feedback. Thirdly we plan to involve a peer group of 5 – 10 students within one of the courses to get a direct, more frequent feedback.