Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Mechanical Engineering is a discipline highly dependent on designing and implementing mechanical, thermal, or energy systems for the improvement of the human environment. Thus being a proficient Engineer involves having a strong mathematical background and a thorough physical understanding on how systems operate in order to apply analytical or numerical schemes during a design process. However, most of the students’ academic development is centered on deriving tedious equations and solving textbook problems, which are difficult to visualize and physically understand, and cloud their intuitive nature to comprehend a problem on its entirety. These conventional approaches and methods of disseminating content in the classroom have a tendency to exclude diverse learning styles of students. Thus, teaching schemes solely focused on covering themes verbatim from a textbook or paraphrasing from a slide presentation are hindering the students’ ability to understand and apply all the engineering principles in design projects. Such technical concern is observed during their senior year Capstone Design course, in which the tendency is to solely utilize engineering software to obtain calculations rather than applying rigorous mathematical techniques to validate their results. In this study, such predicament is addressed by strengthening pedagogical practices through the incorporation of visual supplements during lectures as early as the students’ first Mechanical Engineering course called Engineering Mechanics, and thus enhance the physical understanding of fundamental concepts. In particular, three visual sensor-based supplements were created: crane model, Baltimore-bridge model, and a four-cylinder engine model. The uniqueness of such models is the incorporation of a real-time monitoring system which allows the students to visualize their behavior and correlate between theoretical concepts and physical applications. In addition, results indicate that students enhance their perspective regarding design considerations, calculation requirements, sources of failure, cost reduction, and areas of improvement within the structure or mechanism.


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Publication Title

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition





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