Blending Interactive Courseware into Statics Courses and Assessing the Outcome at Different Institutions

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



We present an “inverted classroom” approach to blending web-based learning materials into instructor-led statics courses. By using the web-based materials students receive initial exposure to a topic prior to class. Initial exposure outside of class typically leads to learning of basic ideas by many students, although they remain with questions or uncertainties regarding more complex or subtle ideas. Class time, which offers opportunities for deeper student-instructor interactions, can then be used, for example, to address students’ remaining questions and more complex or interesting applications. To leverage student work on web-based materials prior to class, instructors need to track student on-line learning activities and identify the concepts and skills that students still need to master. In fact, the web-based materials are instrumented to record student answers, and provide the results in readily accessible aggregated form to instructors.The courseware used in this study has been developed by two of the authors as part of the Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative (OLI) to develop cognitively inform ededucational resources that enact instruction. This courseware has benefited from prior research into conceptual knowledge in Statics and the psychometric analysis of the Statics Concept Inventory. It also incorporates many general lessons from the learning sciences that are broadly relevant, as described in previous papers presented by the authors at ASEE conferences. The courseware, freely available to individual learners and institutions, currently consists of six units, each containing a set of modules. Each module is based on a set of carefully articulated learning objectives and contains expository textand various interactive exercises and simulations. Assessment is tightly integrated withineach module, with students confronting formative “Learn by Doing” activities, which offer hints and feedback, and summative “Did I Get This” interactive assessments at the end of each section to signal if learning objectives were met.The paper reports on the experiences in blending the courseware into Statics courses at two distinct institutions, one offering a four year BS engineering degree, and one with a two-year engineering associate’s degree. We show how the same overall approach is plausibly adaptable at many types of institutions, while allowing for significant variat ionto suit different needs or preferences. We also report on measures of learning and student development, and seek to understand the impact of the materials and their blended use on students.


Integrated Engineering

Publication Title

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition