Animated Instructional Software for Mechanics of Materials: Implementation and Assessment


During the past 3 years, the Basic Engineering Department at the University of Missouri-Rolla has been developing a second-generation suite of instructional software called MecMovies for the Mechanics of Materials course. the MecMovies suite consists of over 110 animated example problems, drill-and-practice games, and interactive exercises. Students generally respond favorably to software of this type; however, much of the data that has been gathered to assess the effectiveness of similar software has been anecdotal. the method by which instructional software is incorporated into the engineering class is partly responsible for this lack of systematic evaluation. Often, software packages have been implemented in the classroom as supplemental material—recommended but not required. in the Fall 2003 semester, MecMovies was integrated thoroughly into the course assignments for one of the six UMR Mechanics of Materials sections. Four professors were involved in the study, and student performance in the experimental MecMovies section was compared to performance in the five control sections through a common final exam. at the end of the semester, students who used the MecMovies software also completed a survey questionnaire consisting of a number of subjective rating items. This paper presents a comparison of student performance in the experimental and control sections along with discussion of student qualitative ratings and comments.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Third Department

Business and Information Technology


National Science Foundation (U.S.)
United States. Department of Education

Keywords and Phrases

Animations; Assessment; Instructional Software; Mechanics of Materials

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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