Research in Engineering and Aviation

Reformulating the Statics Course: A Design-Based Approach

October/November 2008

Author(s): Condoor, S.

ASME 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Volume 9, pp. 327-332, October/November 2008. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2008-69196


Statics is a pivotal course, whose concepts serve as the building blocks for future courses in engineering. From the experience of teaching the follow-on courses to statics, we found several systemic problems present in most statics textbooks. These problems manifest themselves as lower-than-expected abilities in the students when applying the concepts to design/analyze real systems in subsequent courses. The resulting disappointment in engineering educators is common and well documented. The pedagogy outlined in this paper is based on the premise that students learn more effectively when the relevance of the concepts to real world problems and a systematic improvement in their skill set is tactilely, emotionally, and rationally understood. To this end, the pedagogy brings design theory into the course content. The paper discusses rationale behind the pedagogy and its possible implementation scheme with examples. The pedagogy is flexible and can be integrated into an existing learning approach.