Comprehensive transformation of junior-year aeronautics instruction based on active/strategic learning and via innovative utilization of modern comput

Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposal outlines a revolutionary approach to teaching aeronautical engineering courses that will increase student motivation and modernize course content. It is proposed to invert the classic theory-to-application teaching approach by using modern-day tools to introduce basic concepts instead of starting with mathematical derivations of general theories. The project will include development of software tools that will enable students to engage in computational experimentation to evaluate airfoils, wings, aircraft dynamic behavior and flight control design. This approach will improve student motivation, introduce useful, modern methods of analysis and simulation and integrate the learning of fundamental concepts with the use of computational tools. This proposal leverages pedagogical research, which shows that students' perception regarding the utility of course materials plays a large role in student learning. One goal of this project is to help students understand the importance of the course content and to remove content they are unlikely to use in the future. The proposed course modifications will also support student use of active, deep learning strategies. In using simulation software to create their own knowledge, students participate in knowledge-building, which is required for a high level of understanding. The curricular approach will support students motivation for learning by positively influencing their self-efficacy, which impacts the amount of effort students put into understanding problems and their willingness to persist at solving problems. The project focuses on junior-level courses that are found in most Aeronautical or Aerospace Engineering curricula. The courseware will consist of user-friendly interfaces that connect students and course instructors with commercially available software for aerodynamics analysis and flight simulation. Project deliverables will include a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of the approach for student motivation and student learning, as well as all developed courseware, which will be available for free distribution through a web portal.
Effective start/end date2/24/0912/31/12


  • NASA: Goddard Space Flight Center: $389,712.00


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