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Students Views on Engineering Mechanics Education and Implications for Educators


Goldfinch, T and Carew, ALJ and Thomas, GA, Students Views on Engineering Mechanics Education and Implications for Educators, Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference for the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 6 - 9 December 2009, Adelaide, pp. 624-629. ISBN 1876346590 (2009) [Refereed Conference Paper]


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Copyright 2009 Remains the property of the author(s). The author(s) assign to AaeE and educational non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced.

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This paper presents findings of a qualitative study conducted as part of a larger project to address the issue of high failure rates in first year engineering mechanics. Engineering student focus groups were held at two institutions, and were asked about the subject area, curriculum, and their approaches to study. Eight academics were also interviewed individually on the same topics to provide some context for the focus group outcomes. Documented responses revealed a tendency for both groups to focus on the most negative or extreme examples as cases which were representative of a wider situation. Although the focus group and interview protocols were designed to elicit posittve and negative views, the negative appeared to dominate. We propose that the predominantly negative perception and interpretation of the situation, and an apparent 'us and them' mentality potentially contribute to high failure rates in engineering mechanics. These issues may be creating stumbling blocks, or leading to de-motivation in educators' attempts to teach the topic successfully, and students' efforts to learn the material effectively.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum
UTAS Author:Carew, ALJ (Dr Anna Carew)
UTAS Author:Thomas, GA (Professor Giles Thomas)
ID Code:61211
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:NC Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics
Deposited On:2010-03-01
Last Modified:2014-11-26
Downloads:363 View Download Statistics

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