# Course Assessment Report - College of Engineering

```Course Assessment Report
College of Engineering, The University of Iowa
(Revised Spring Semester 2012)
Course # and Name: 059:007 Statics
Semester and Instructor: Fall 2011, Madhavan Raghavan, Serban Constantinescu, Colby Swan
Coordinator: Wilfrid Nixon, CEE Department
Teaching Assistants Head Count and FTE: 8
Catalog Description: Vector algebra, forces, couples, moments, resultants of force couple systems;
friction, equilibrium analysis of particles and finite bodies, centroids; applications. Prerequisite:
22M:031. Corequisites: 22M:032 and 029:081.
I. Course Goals and Program Outcomes
Indicate the Program Outcomes associated with each Course Learning Goal along with the extent
(moderate or substantial) of these associations
Course Learning Goal
Program Outcome
1. Representation of forces and moments as vectors in two and three dimensions.
A(•1), E(•), K(•)
2. Use of equilibrium equations to determine the forces acting on a point or a body in two and
A(•), E(•), K(•)
three dimensions.
3. Use of the concepts of equilibrium to determine forces acting on trusses and in frames and
A(•), E(•), K(•)
machines.
4. Use of the concepts of equilibrium to analyze simple friction problems.
A(•), E(•), K(•)
5. Determination of the centroids of simple and composite shapes.
A(•), E(•), K(•)
6. Determination of the moments of inertia of simple and composite cross sections.
A(•), E(•), K(•)
7. Composition of a written description of the principles of statics observable in a structure.
G(w)(•)
Notes: ○ denotes moderate contribution to the outcome ● denotes substantial contribution to the outcome
II. Program Outcomes (provided for reference).
(a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
(b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
(c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic,
environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
(d) an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
(e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
(f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
(g) an ability to communicate effectively
(h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and
societal context
(i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
(j) a knowledge of contemporary issues
(k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
III. Assessment
Part A. Log of Recent Improvements, Recommendations and Comments. Append a brief, dated,
summary of improvements and recommendations made during the current offering along with
motivations and significant comments. If the course is meeting its objectives and no comments are
needed, say this. Six year and older entries may be deleted.
Spring 2004
Re-organization of the material: It appears to me that the course moves very slow in the beginning
because of the need to review 3D vectors and their applications. The actual statics principles get lost in
the details of vector algebra. I propose to skip material related to 3D problems in the beginning and
cover it towards the end of the course. This will have three benefits. First, the students will have
opportunity to thoroughly understand equilibrium concepts and their applications to planar problems.
Almost all actual truss, frame, machine, and friction problems assigned in the course (incidentally also
those that appear in the Fundamentals of Engineering exam) involve two-dimensional analysis.
Second, the material on centroids and moments of inertia will be covered earlier in the semester when
students are not burdened by the end of the semester activities in every course. Third, the students will
be in better position to separate basic concepts from the vector algebra details when the 3D problems
are actually covered.
Fall 2004
In the Spring 2004 it was recommended to skip material related to 3D problems in the beginning and
cover it towards the end of the course. This change was implemented in Fall 2004. From the
comments, and performance of students in the exams, it appears that the change was received well.
There were no negative comments related to this topic. Students were also more positive about the
course as reflected in the higher mean scores on all EASY questions. They generally did better in the
exams as well.
Fall 2005
Writing project: The writing process continued the use of the refined grading process described above.
This should be continued next semester.
We switched to ICON. All lectures and solutions to HW and exams were posted on the ICON site for
the class. The use of ICON should be continued.
Fall 2006
Teaching aids: Two hands-on laboratory experiments were added during the discussion sections.
Class activities (Group problem solving) were incorporated into the lectures. This helped in breaking
the monotony of the lectures and provided students an opportunity to discuss the material with their
classmates. Most students liked these class activities.
Fall 2007
Text book: The textbook for the course was changed to: Engineering Mechanics: Statics by J. L.
Meriam and L. G. Kraige, Wiley and Sons, NY, Sixth Edition. The textbook adequately covered all the
topics towards meeting the course goals.
Fall 2008
We changed the writing assignment to make room in the course for some (limited) hands on
experiments. In the assignment, the students were asked to write a Letter of Intent (to submit a
proposal), Proposal (to conduct several experiments) and Report describing and documenting the
results of these experiments. These tasks were distributed over the course of the semester. In the next
year we need to end and grade them sooner to provide more feedback to the students.
We also complemented the lectures and the discussion sessions with several extra evening sessions
during which students worked on problems while the lecturers and the TAs walked around and
consulted the students. This allows for “customized” help as the mathematics and physics background
among the students varies considerably.
Spring 2009
To allow for a comparison between the writing assignment given in Fall 2008 and the assignment more
traditionally given, the writing assignment this semester was the more traditional assignment. It is
hoped that a fairly formal comparison between the two types of assignment can be conducted.
Additionally, the need for students to conduct experiments may create some issues if TA resources are
significantly reduced as appears to be likely. No other changes to the course were made.
Part A. Improvements and Recommendations this Semester. Provide a description of course
improvements that have occurred this semester relative to those of previous semester (including the
motivation for these changes), and recommended changes for upcoming semesters as needed.
Fall 2007
The class average for Exam 1 was around 40 and the students perceived the exam to be difficult. An
extra help session was held on Friday afternoons on a voluntary basis by one of the instructors (open to
students from both sections) and an average of ten students took advantage of this help. The comments
from the students participated indicated that the help session was useful in their preparation for the
exams.
Fall 2008
The class average for Exam 1 was below 40 again this year. It is our impression that the students are
not well prepared for the difficulty of the exam and lose point unnecessarily. Extra help sessions were
well attended; an average of twenty students took advantage of this help. The comments from the
students who participated indicated that the help sessions were useful in their preparation for the
exams.
We also ran into significant issues with students having the solutions manual. As a result, they were
getting high scores on their homework, but this was not translating into preparedness for the exams.
We may consider decreasing or eliminating the homework portion of the grade, and instead opting for
quizzes in class, based on “suggested” homework that we expect them to do and understand. This way,
the first exam will not be such a huge surprise.
Spring 2009
The exam 1 average was 46.9/60, exam 2 average was 38.9/60 and the final exam average was
75.6/100. The issue of students getting the solutions manual is a major concern and is likely not
avoidable. One small step toward minimizing this is to assign a problem but change some of the values
(e.g. do problem 2.37 but replace the 100 lb weight with a 200 lb weight). While in most cases this
simply requires students to do a straight substitution it appears that those who rely heavily on the
solutions manual are not willing or able to do this. Regardless, the first exam was not a major concern
for students. The second exam was tougher, but this likely reflects a tougher selection of questions than
normal.
The homework portion of the grade may have to be reduced depending on the availability of TA
support.
Fall 2009
Tried not using homeworks but instead had a major innovation with having a significant use of
tutoring. Seemed to help somewhat.
Spring 2010
The class was disrupted because the instructor had to take family medical leave in February, and the
TA took over teaching the class at this point. Exam 1 average was 74.7%, exam 2 was 62.4% and final
exam average was 68.3%. Given the disruption there was little opportunity to develop novel
approaches during the semester.
Fall 2010
The experiment with not grading homeworks continued. The process is as follows. Homeworks are
assigned but are not collected. Instead, each week there is a quiz in the discussion section, which is
very closely based on the assigned homework problems. This minimizes the issue of students who
have access to solution manuals simply copying homework solutions. One issue that could be
improved is to help the TAs with their time management. On occasions, there was not sufficient time
at the end of a discussion section to allow students the full allotted time for the quiz.
While there was a lot of tutoring made available to students in this semester, the instructors have some
reservations about this process. There did not seem to be a great deal of coordination between the
tutoring process and the instructors. Further, the instructors feel that the tutoring should focus on topics
that are foundational to statics. Thus if a student has a problem with some of the trigonometry that is
foundational for the class, the tutoring service is ideal for such a case. Likewise, if a student has missed
two or three classes because of illness, tutoring should help them catch up. It would help if
communication were significantly improved between the tutoring program and the instructors.
The instructors used a pre-test, administered on the first day, to determine the level of basic math skills
needed for the course that students actually had. The test comprised ten simple questions and one
minute was allotted for each question. It was expected that students would get either nine or ten of the
questions correct, but unfortunately they only managed to get about six correct. The test was
implication is that students either do not know the material that they need to know prior to the class, or
do not realize how critical this will be to their success in the class and have thus not brought it to mind.
This would be a good area for tutoring to focus.
The fall offering of statics started using clickers in fall of 2009 and continued this in 2010. Uses vary
from lecture to lecture, but it allows recording of attendance, testing of reading and concept
understanding, and also serves as a way to keep students engaged and on task during the class time.
Spring 2011
There were two innovations this semester. First, students were restricted in the calculators they could
use in the exams to those models approved for the FE exam (as is done in EPS I). There were very few
complaints about this and it seemed to work well. Simply as a matter of fairness, it is suggested that
this approach be continued. Second, a new method of tracking student success in attaining the course
goals was tried. This method uses exam questions to determine the degree to which students have
achieved mastery, competence, or exposure in a given course goal. First, each exam question is
assigned to course goals that it addresses. Then, if students achieve 80% on that question (or more)
they are considered to have demonstrated mastery. Above 50% but less than 80% indicates
competence, while below 50% indicates exposure. Obviously, this is not a perfect system, but it does
provide a rational basis for determining which topics students have achieved what level within. Also,
the results from the two mid-term exams were used to identify topics where the class as a whole had
not achieved mastery. These topics were then tested again on the final exam (along with the last two
topics of the semester - centroids and moments of inertia.
Using the results of this analysis of student achievement, it is clear that in most categories (writing
being the exception) at least 20% of the students are not achieving competence or mastery. This is a
concern. It may well be related to the results found in the fall semester when a pre-test of basic
concepts was given at the start of the semester. If students do not have the basic mathematical tools
they need at the start of the semester, then they will spend the whole semester struggling and at best
playing catch-up, instead of actually grasping the significantly new concepts they must tackle in the
course.
Part of this problem may indicate that a common faculty perception of students is correct - namely that
they do not carry over knowledge well from one semester to the next, because each new semester
brings new classes. In part this may be because they do not understand how much the knowledge they
learn today is foundational to what they will learn tomorrow. How this might be addressed is an issue.
One possibility would be to create a web page for each core course indicating what knowledge students
must have (by way of example questions) in order to be successful in the class. The web site would in
some ways be equivalent to a pre-test. Whether students would make use of such a site is unclear, but
over time it may well be that such sites are used because they assist student success.
The issue of tutoring was not of much concern this semester as it was last, but it would still be very
beneficial for the tutoring system to work with faculty explicitly to ensure that correct approaches are
needed. Having lots of students go to tutoring because they get given the answer to problems will not
help their learning - they need to be learning the concepts whether in class, in discussion sections, or in
the tutoring sessions.
Fall 2011
Again we saw that in each of the outcomes (except writing) between 15 and 25% of the students are
not attaining competency. The weakest areas appeared to be after the second mid-term, but that may
not be a statistically significant result. There has been an improvement over the previous fall, and that
may be related to the use of four sections rather than three (thus creating somewhat smaller class
sizes). However, the results remain a challenge.
Some questions were raised by students about the writing exercise, which is currently worth 15% of
the final grade. Students felt this was too much both in terms of the work required (especially for a two
hour class) and in terms of the points given for it. The writing exercise was introduced as part of the
major curriculum change more than a decade ago, and was intended to be the major writing exercise
for students in their third semester. It is probably worth discussing whether they still need this, if so
whether statics is the place for it to be, and if not to either of these, then what (if anything) should take
its place.
Part B. Quantitative Assessment Results. Enter in the table below an assessment of the percentage
of passing students achieving mastery (B+ to A+ level achievement), competency (C- to B level
achievement) or exposure (D- to D+ level achievement) for each course learning goal.
To make room for the rightmost “new” entry, delete the leftmost “old” entry.
Course Learning Goal And
Assessment Basis
1. Representation of forces and moments as vectors
in two and three dimensions.
2. Use of equilibrium equations to determine the
forces acting on a point or a body in two and three
dimensions.
3. Use of the concepts of equilibrium to determine
forces acting on trusses and in frames and
machines.
4. Use of the concepts of equilibrium to analyze
simple friction problems.
5. Determination of the centroids of simple and
composite shapes.
6. Determination of the moments of inertia of
simple and composite cross sections.
7. Composition of a written description of the
principles of statics observable in a structure.
M
C
E
M
C
E
M
C
E
M
C
E
M
C
E
M
C
E
M
C
E
Sp
09
41
47
12
41
47
12
41
47
12
41
47
12
41
47
12
41
47
12
86
10
4
Sp
10
47
33
20
45
42
13
45
42
13
45
32
13
45
32
13
45
32
13
85
13
2
Fa
10
49
21
30
32
38
29
39
30
31
11
70
18
36
25
39
16
39
45
62
30
8
Sp
11
48
30
22
40
24
36
40
30
30
48
32
20
50
21
29
55
18
27
93
7
0
Fa
11
48
34
19
48
34
19
43
41
16
43
41
16
34
41
25
34
41
25
92
8
0
Part C. Please attach a current syllabus.
59:007: Engineering Fundamentals I – Statics (Section AAA)
Fall Semester 2011
Time and Place:
Lectures (for section AAA)
10:30 – 11:20 TTh
1505 SC
Discussion Section A31
9:30 – 10:20 M
3505 SC
Discussion Section A32
11:30 – 12:20 M
2217 SC
Discussion Section A33
9:30 – 10:20 W
3505 SC
Instructor:
Prof. Wilfrid Nixon
Wilfrid-nixon@uiowa.edu
4113 SC
5-5166
@wilfnixon
http://wilf-nixon.blogspot.com/
TAs:
Anissa Gerard (anissa@mchsi.com)
Nikhil Sikka (Nikhil-sikka@uiowa.edu)
Office Hours / Workroom:
Professor Nixon:
Location
Time:
3501 SC
TTh 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. (starting January 21)
Anissa
Location
Time:
3258 SC
TBD
Nikhil
Location
Time:
3258 SC
TBD
Text: Meriam, J.L. and Kraige, L.G, Engineering Mechanics - Statics, 6th Ed., Wiley, 2006.
59:007 Engineering Fundamentals I – Statics Section AAA
Spring Semester 2011
Instructor: Wilfrid A. Nixon
Textbook: Meriam, J.L. and Kraige, L.G, Engineering Mechanics - Statics, 6th Ed.,
Wiley, 2006.
COURSE SCHEDULE
Week
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
Lect
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
Date
Jan 18
Jan 20
Jan 25
Jan 27
Feb 1
Feb 3
Feb 8
Feb 10
Feb 15
Feb 17
Feb 22
Feb 24
Mar 1
14
15
16
--17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Mar 3
Mar 8
Mar 10
Mar 15
Mar 17
Mar 22
Mar 24
Mar 29
Mar 31
Apr 5
Apr 7
Apr 12
Apr 14
25
26
27
28
29
30
Apr 19
Apr 21
Apr 26
Apr 28
May 3
May 5
May 9
Lecture Topics
General Principles
Force Vectors
No class
Equilibrium of a Particle
3D Equilibrium
Moment, CTC Presentation
Force-Couple System
Distributed Force System
Rigid Body Equilibrium
Equilibrium in Two Dimensions
Equilibrium in Three Dimensions
Review
Exam 1: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 1505 SC (no regular
class)
Forces in Trusses: Method of Joints
Forces in Trusses: Method of Sections
Space Trusses
Spring Break
Spring Break
Forces in Frames and Machines
Forces in Frames and Machines
Forces in Frames and Machines
Frictional Forces
Tipping and Impending Motion
Problems Involving Friction
Review
Exam 2: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 1505 SC (no regular
class)
Center of Gravity Using Integration
Center of Gravity of Composite Sections
Moment of Inertia using Integration
Moment of Inertia of Composite Sections
Mass Moment of Inertia
Review
Final Exam, 9:45 – 11:45 a.m. TBD
Sections
Chap 1
2.1–2.3, 2.7
3.1 – 3.3
3.4
2.4 – 2.6
2.8 – 2.10
5.1, 5.6
3.1
3.2 – 3.3
3.4
4.1 – 4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6 – 4.7
4.6 – 4.7
4.6 – 4.7
6.1 – 6.3
6.1 – 6.3
6.4 – 6.5
5.1 – 5.3
5.4
A1 – A2
A3
B
Prbs Due
Set # 1
Set # 2
Set # 3
Set # 4
Set # 5
Set # 6
Set # 7
Set # 8
Set # 9
Set # 10
Set # 11
Set # 12
Set # 13
Set # 14
Set # 15
Set # 16
Set # 17
Set # 18
Set # 19
Set # 20
Set # 21
Set # 22
Set # 23
Set # 24
59:007 Engineering Fundamentals I - Statics
Spring Semester 2011
COURSE DESCRIPTION
1: Textbook: Meriam, J.L. and Kraige, L.G, Engineering Mechanics - Statics, 6th Ed., Wiley, 2006, available at IMU
Bookstore
2: Pre- and Co-requisites: 22M:31 (pre-requisite). 22M:32 and 29:17 (co-requisites)
3: Homework Policy:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Homework problem solutions may be developed independently or collaboratively. But homework submissions
must be individual, independent work.
Problems are due at the start of class on the date shown in the schedule.
All homework problems submitted on time will be graded and will be returned at the next discussion session.
Late homework is not accepted without a valid written and signed excuse.
Problem solving will be covered in lectures and in discussion sessions.
A proper solution format is required which includes a proper free-body diagram (where appropriate).
Homework MUST be submitted on Engineering paper
Student number (last 5 digits) and section number must be written on each homework page.
4: Exams and Quizzes
•
Unannounced quizzes may be given at random in discussion sections. They will be graded and returned
at the next discussion session.
•
Missed quizzes may not be made up.
•
A valid written and signed excuse will be considered if a quiz is missed, otherwise that grade is recorded
as “zero.”
•
Two closed-book midterm exams will be given during the term, with no make-up exams.
•
One two-hour final comprehensive closed-book exam will be given. If a student is unable to take the final
examination due to some extenuating circumstance, he or she will be given a comprehensive oral
examination by the instructors at the earliest mutually convenient time.
•
Zero credit will be assigned for a missed exam, unless the student submits a legitimate, documented,
excuse in writing.
•
Homework and Quizzes = 15%
•
Essay = 15%
•
First Midterm Examination = 15%
•
Second Midterm Examination = 15%
•
Final Examination = 40%
6: Student Misconduct:
signed
•
•
•
The College of Engineering Policy on Student Misconduct will be strictly followed.
Cheating on a quiz or examination is an automatic course grade of F for all students involved.
Homework copying is a zero and a reprimand the first time, and a zero grade on all homework the second
time for all students involved.
7: Course Description:
•
This course provides students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate an understanding of the basic
scientific principles involved in the Newtonian analysis of particles and finite bodies in equilibrium, and to
acquire and exhibit the ability to apply these principles in the solution of typical practical engineering
problems.
•
The lectures are normally organized as a combined lecture/discussion session. From 1/4 to 1/2 of each lecture
session will involve problem solving. The single discussion session each week will include question and
answer time, problem solving, and return of the most recent quiz. Thus, the lectures will be used to introduce
terminology, explain and motivate theory, and describe the general application techniques in solving
problems, while the discussion sessions will provide the student with time for interactive discussion of more
specific problems or techniques.
•
Statics is basically an analysis course in which problem definition and problem solving techniques and
procedures are emphasized. A thorough understanding of the terminology and underlying theory is essential
in order to be able to apply that theory correctly. A clear and straightforward procedure of mechanical
analysis is also needed in order to solve well-posed statics problems.
•
Class room illustrations and homework problems bear a close resemblance to quiz questions, and are therefore
extremely important in preparing students to do well in the course. Understanding and doing homework
problems properly is the key to the course.
8: Course Objectives
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
• Express forces, relative locations, and moments or couples as vector quantities in Cartesian reference
frames;
• Determine resultant forces and moments for general force-couple systems, and find equivalent force- couple
systems;
• Construct suitable mechanical models for simple engineering structures in equilibrium, and the individual
component elements of each structure;
• Draw a proper free-body diagram for each element of the system model, and write the corresponding
equations of equilibrium;
• Write appropriate kinematic auxiliary conditions, and eliminate extraneous kinematic unknowns from the
equations of equilibrium;
• Solve systems of simplified equilibrium equations for unknown kinematic and/or kinetic quantities;
• Locate fictitious “centers” of discrete and continuous scalar distributions, such as centers of length, area,
volume, charge, mass, parallel discrete forces, and parallel continuous force distributions;
• Determine area moments of inertia for simple geometrical figures, and for complex figures composed of a
number of simple geometric shapes, using the parallel-axis theorem;
• Analyze equilibrium states of mechanical systems in the presence of dry (Coulomb) friction;
• Solve typical statics problems on the Iowa Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination; and
• Express the principles of statics in common objects in clear written English.
ALL WITHOUT THE AID OF NOTES AND REFERENCES.
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