At a university in the Mid-west, Statics is a required course for students across several majors in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Improving the teaching and learning effectiveness of Statics may have a major impact on student success and retention by virtue of the large number of students affected. Traditionally Statics has been taught through three 50-minutes or two 75-minutes face-to-face lectures per week. Since spring 2014, a redesigned Statics using blended course format has been offered parallel to the traditional format. The redesigned course format includes two 50-minutes lectures and one 3-hours recitation per week.
This study is purposed to perform a thorough comparison between the sections using the two instruction methods. The sample data includes students from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, and Civil and Construction Engineering Department enrolled into Statics course from Spring 2014 to Fall 2018. The demographic information of both student sections was compared first. The student cumulative GPA when they were enrolled in Static was examined to see if there were any differences between the two sections. The student performance, including their course grade and final exam grade, of the two sections was statistically analyzed. The students in both sections were divided into different groups based on their cumulative GPA then the same GPA groups were compared between the two sections. The academic performance of the students in the subsequent course, Mechanics of Materials, which is closely related to Statics was tracked and compared. The student and instructor perception about the redesigned course format was presented. The results showed that the students in the redesigned section outperformed the traditional section, and both instructors and students have perceived more active learning in the redesigned section. The university where this study was carried out is a Moderately Selective institution as classified by the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange. The lessons learned could be applicable to other institutions with similar student demographics.
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