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ERIC Number: EJ1086335
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1557-5284
A Case for the Need of Using Scaffolding Methods in Teaching Introductory, Fundamental Engineering Mechanics Classes
Boylan-Ashraf, Peggy C.; Freeman, Steven A.; Shelley, Mack C.
Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, v16 n4 p6-12 Oct-Dec 2015
In the past ten years, engineering classrooms have seen an exponential growth in the use of technology, more than during any other previous decade. Unprecedented advancements, such as the advent of innovative gadgets and fundamental instructional alterations in engineering classrooms, have introduced changes in both teaching and learning. Student learning in introductory, fundamental engineering mechanics (IFEM) courses, such as statics of engineering, mechanics of materials, dynamics, and mechanics of fluids, as in any other class, is influenced by the experiences students go through in the classroom. Thus, bold new methodologies that connect science to life using student-centered approaches and scaffolding pedagogies need to be emphasized more in the learning process. This study is aimed to gain insight into the role of student-centered teaching, particularly the implementation of scaffolding pedagogies into IFEM courses. This study also attempts to contribute to the current national conversation in engineering education of the need to change its landscape--from passive learning to active learning. Demographic characteristics in this study included a total of 3,592 students, of whom 3,160 (88.0%) are males and 432 (12.0%) are females, over a period of six years, from 2007 to 2013. The students' majors included aerospace engineering, agricultural engineering, civil engineering, construction engineering, industrial engineering, materials engineering, and mechanical engineering. Results of the study, as tested using a general linear univariate model analysis, indicated that overwhelmingly the type of class in statics of engineering is a significant predictor of student "downstream" performance in tests measuring their knowledge of mechanics of materials. There is a statistically significant difference in students' performance in mechanics of materials depending on whether they were taught passively using the teacher-centered pedagogy or taught actively using the student-centered pedagogy in statics of engineering. Mechanics of materials is commonly the next immediate course, or a downstream course, following statics of engineering. [Cover title varies: "Scaffolding in Introductory Engineering Courses."]
Institute for STEM Education and Research. P.O. Box 4001, Auburn, AL 36831. Tel: 334-844-3360; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A