Exploring the impact of virtual and physical dissection activities on students' understanding of engineering design principles

Ann F. McKenna, Wei Chen, Timothy W. Simpson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Product dissection has become a popular pedagogy for actively engaging engineering students in the classroom through practical hands-on experiences. Despite its numerous advantages, dissection of physical products has many drawbacks, including not only the costs required to start-up and maintain such activities but also the workspace and storage space needed for the products and tools used to dissect them. This paper presents results from on-going research that is investigating the extent to which dissection of virtual representations of products - what we refer to as virtual dissection - can be used in lieu of physical product dissection in the classroom. In particular, we found positive learning gains in students' ability to identify and describe the function and production method of components contained in a hand-held power drill, for both physical and virtual dissection groups. However, the data also reveal differences in the overall maximum level attained as well as differences in the range and types of components identified between the groups. While we recognize that virtual dissection will never provide the same hands-on experiences as physical dissection, we contend that virtual dissection can be used effectively in the classroom to increase students' understanding of engineering design principles. By substantiating this impact, we can help establish cost-effective sets of computer-based dissection activities that do not require extensive workspace and storage spaces and can be easily scaled to any size classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE2008
Pages359-368
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE2008 - Brooklyn, NY, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2008Aug 6 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Volume5

Other

OtherASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBrooklyn, NY
Period8/3/088/6/08

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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