Active and collaborative learning exercises for a first course in fluid mechanics

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The education literature clearly shows that classroom instruction that requires students to actively participate is superior to the teacher-centered lecture mode of instruction. Moreover, instructional activities that require student interaction and collaboration also promote learning. The superiority of active and collaborative learning to traditional methods applies to any number of measures. To implement active and collaborative learning strategies in a junior-level fluid mechanics class, the authors have developed a number of in-class exercises. These exercises range from activities that consume a large portion of a class period to those that require just a few minutes, or less. Although many instructors may see the benefits of active and collaborative learning strategies, they may be reluctant to use them in their classes because they lack information on how to apply them to specific mechanical engineering subjects. Here we present twenty-three in-class exercises useful for instruction in a first course in fluid mechanics. The attributes of each exercise are delineated. These attributes include the approximate amount of class time required, the degree of collaboration involved (individual effort, pairs, or groups of three or four students), the educational objectives, and the specific subject area(s). Survey results show that our students are highly receptive to these collaborative learning exercises, welcoming them over a traditional lecture format. We also show that these exercises may be adapted readily by others and present limited evidence illustrating their effectiveness in improving student learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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