Is There a Better Way to Present an Example Problem?


Statics, Dynamics, and Mechanics of Materials are introductory engineering courses that employ principles of mechanics and mathematics to solve a wide array of engineering problems. Accordingly, these courses are taught largely through the use of example problems, traditionally delivered to students either by the professor in a classroom setting or by a textbook. The computer offers new possible ways for delivering instructional content such as example problems; however, there has been little data gathered to indicate whether computer-based instructional materials are as effective in communicating example problems to students as the more traditional lecture and textbook formats. During the 2002 fall semester at the University of Missouri - Rolla, a learning experiment was conducted in four sections of the Mechanics of Materials course based on the topic of shear flow. The goal was to assess the relative effectiveness of delivery mode on student comprehension of example problems. All participating students viewed a common video introductory lecture on shear flow. Then, students were randomly assigned into three groups that viewed two example problems either by: (a) video lecture presentation; (b) static HTML webpage delivery; or (3) interactive animated modules featuring high quality, three dimensional graphics created with Macromedia Flash software. This paper reports the details of this experiment and the results.

Meeting Name

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Staying in Tune with Engineering Education (2003: Jun. 22-25, Nashville, TN)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department

Business and Information Technology

Third Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Curriculum evaluation; Educational hypermedia; Engineering problems; Hypermedia instructional system; Animation; Computer aided instruction; Curricula; Engineers; HTML; Multimedia systems; Personnel training; Teaching; Technical presentations; Video recording; Engineering education

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2003 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2003