This project has 4 primary goals:1) to improve students' problem solving by developing and implementing 36 interactive web-based computer simulation and animation (CSA) modules in diverse education settings; 2) cultivate student interest in learning dynamics and improve their attitudes toward engineering as a career; 3) assess the effectiveness of the CSA modules on student learning outcomes that are associated with diverse learning style preference, gender, and ethnic/racial background; and 4) actively disseminate the CSA modules and the experiences and lessons learned from this project to the broad STEM education community from K-12 to undergraduate education. The CSA modules effectively integrate visualization with mathematical modeling of dynamics problems to help students connect dynamics/physics with mathematics, thus providing students a transformative experience of learning dynamics. The modules will be assessed in diverse education settings, including research and teaching institutions, 4-year and 2-year institutions, institutions with a significant number of ethnic/racial minority students, and small and large class sizes. The modules will be used as a problem-based active learning tool in a variety of ways: embedded in regular classroom lectures and/or after-class recitation sessions, used as students' homework assignments, or used along with corresponding real-world laboratory experiments to offer students an enhanced and diversified learning experience. Longitudinal mixed-method assessments that include control and experimental groups, pre- and post-tests, questionnaire surveys, and structured individual and focus-group interviews will be performed to assess students' learning outcomes. The assessment results will show how learning style preference, gender, and ethnic/racial background affect learning with CSA, thus improving understanding of how to better design computer simulation programs to meet the needs of diverse students. Partnering institutions will integrate the modules into dynamics courses. The CSA modules and associated lesson plans will be broadly disseminated to the instructors who teach dynamics at peer institutions, broad Internet dissemination, conference presentations and journal publications, special sessions and workshops at professional meetings, professional societies and local student chapters, and dissemination via the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education and via Dynamics textbook publishers. Selected modules will also be disseminated to both pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers and students.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Don L. Millard
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Utah State University
United States
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