Teaching Mechanics for Real. A Different Approach for Civil Engineers

Teaching Mechanics for Real. A Different Approach for Civil Engineers

S. Loyer (2013).  Teaching Mechanics for Real. A Different Approach for Civil Engineers. 10.

In most traditional engineering schools in Chile, Mechanics is a fundamental course taught by physics professors, using a theoretical approach which often disregards what civil engineers do. This usually creates a gap in a student’s learning process, who must later apply these theoretical fundamentals in structural courses, which are usually taught by civil engineers. Therefore, students must be re-taught to think about mechanics in an appropriate context, and, by doing so, these fundamentals finally make sense to them.

This paper describes the experience of a mechanics course for Civil Engineering students at UCSC under a CDIO approach. This initiative considers several CDIO standards, but mainly active learning (CDIO Standard 8), context of civil engineering (CDIO Standard 1), hands-on activities for building systems and structures (CDIO Standard 6), among others. This course employs several active learning strategies, of which PBL (problem based learning) is the center piece. But what differentiates the most this initiative from others that also use PBL is the type of problems employed. We use more complex-real cases, which are a way of taking CDIO Standard 1 to a different level. By the end of the course, students are highly motivated, use critical thinking and show higher proficiency levels on standard and higher learning outcomes as well as other skills.

Proceedings of the 9th International CDIO Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 9 – 13, 2013.


Authors (New): 
Solange Loyer
Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Chile
Active learning
Problem based learning
Project based learning
Experiential Learning
Engineering education
Problem Solving Workshops (PSW)
engineering context
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