Teaching of Fluid Mechanics in Engineering Course: A Student-Centered Blended Learning Approach

Teaching of Fluid Mechanics in Engineering Course: A Student-Centered Blended Learning Approach

Ataur Rahman (University of Western Sydney, Australia) and Md Al-Amin (Monash University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5011-4.ch002
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Abstract

In undergraduate engineering courses, fluid mechanics is regarded as a challenging subject. This is particularly the case for students who do not possess a strong mathematical background. This chapter reviews the issues related to the teaching of fluid mechanics with an emphasis on how e-technology can enhance student learning. It uses the data of 462 students studying the second year engineering course at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) in Australia. The UWS fluid mechanics course, in its past ten years, has undergone significant changes in its content and delivery. It has been found that teaching based on a “student-centered approach” is more effective in teaching fluid mechanics than a “lecturer-centered approach.” Further enhancements are proposed in UWS through a blended learning approach involving both e-technology and traditional teaching methods to teach fluid mechanics. The method can also be adapted to other universities.
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Background

Catalano et al. (1999) compared aspects of engineering education with several case studies for a variety of subjects from a number of institutions. Comparisons were focused on teacher-centered and student-centered learning methods to identify the effectiveness of learning. They found that the student-centered model is more effective than the teacher-centered one when academic depth is considered. Crouch (2001) reported a ten years’ teaching experience with peer instruction in introductory physics courses. Student performance was found to improve in quantitative problem solving skills by this method. They took a number of different approaches such as, the replacement of in-class reading quizzes with a writing report on the topic beforehand and group learning combined with traditional lectures. This paved the way for students developing an increased understanding of the courses.

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