Making structural analysis fun to learn: Challenges and opportunities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

Abstract

A report by Johnson and May prepared for the Ove Arup Foundation in 2008 highlighted some of the problems faced by students studying engineering degrees. Mathematics was found as one of the obstacles. This research project is aimed at critically investigating the problems and challenges arising from teaching engineering students, and how they impact on them achieving their full potential. It proposes some practical solutions in dealing with the problems. What is proposed by this study is to investigate the actual root of the problems encountered, explore new approaches to teaching and learning, and implement these on a carefully selected module on structural analysis at a second year undergraduate level. Questionnaires were distributed to both academic teaching staff and students. Additionally, focus groups were carried out with students and interviews were conducted with academic staff. Three regional universities took part in the surveys. The results indicate that structural analysis is perceived by students as an important topic in their course but that a third of all students who took part in the survey struggled with mathematical concepts used in solving engineering problems despite having a strong mathematical background. Some students struggled with basic structural concepts such as shear and bending moments, load paths etc. Half of the students questioned disagreed that too much theory is involved in teaching structural analysis, whereas, just over a third of students found the labs stimulating and rewarding in supporting their learning because they "can see what's happening".

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEE 2012 - International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
EventInternational Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, EE 2012 - Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Sep 201220 Sep 2012
http://cede.lboro.ac.uk/ee2012/programme_papers.html

Publication series

NameEE 2012 - International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, Conference Proceedings

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, EE 2012
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityCoventry
Period18/09/1220/09/12
Internet address

Keywords

  • education
  • teaching
  • engineering
  • Students
  • questionnaire
  • analysis
  • mathematics
  • concepts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Education

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  • Cite this

    Saidani, M., & Shibani, A. (2012). Making structural analysis fun to learn: Challenges and opportunities. In EE 2012 - International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, Conference Proceedings (EE 2012 - International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, Conference Proceedings).