Journal Article


M. D. Gilchrist
Manuel A. Forero Rueda



education research research led undergraduate teaching team based university college dublin research methods design project first year students

Innovations in Undergraduate Engineering Mechanics Education : Use of Team-Based Research-Led Project Methods for Large Student Cohorts (2011)

Abstract As a cornerstone subject for all undergraduate engineering degree programmes, mechanics is besttaught from fundamental principles and by reinforcing students’ learning through active learningstrategies. This approach provides students with a solid understanding of basic concepts before theysubsequently study more advanced topics such as dynamics, control, solid mechanics and fluidmechanics. MEEN10030, Mechanics for Engineers, is a compulsory module taught annually inSemester I to 260 First Year students at University College Dublin, Ireland’s largest university. Thesyllabus topics include forces, Newton’s laws of motion, statics in two and three dimensions,equilibrium, friction, trusses and cables, distributed forces, centres of mass and centroids, motion, andkinematics of a particle and of a rigid body.Traditional teaching of this subject relies solely on formal lectures and tutorials, without any laboratorysessions or student assignments, both of which are resource intensive. Five years ago, following aprogramme review in 2006, this module was completely revised and the subject material wasrationalised with regard to what is taught in subsequent Second Year modules. Three entirelyintegrated laboratory sessions were developed so that groups of students would complete a variety ofanalytical and enquiry-led exercises in numerical, graphical and written form. A more recent additionalmajor initiative, introduced three years ago in 2008, provides team-based assignments to the entire260 students in which groups of up to five students are set a design challenge directly related to onespecific topic from the course material. These changes have proven popular with students and haveled to improved learning outcomes and student performance without compromising on academicstandards. This paper describes these innovative developments in which Irish engineering studentshave opportunities for research-led active learning in this manner.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Mechanical & Materials Engineering Research Collection
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> College of Engineering & Architecture
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Full list of authors on original publication

M. D. Gilchrist, Manuel A. Forero Rueda

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M. D. Gilchrist
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 172