The mechanics project: A pedagogy of engagement for undergraduate mechanics courses

Keith D. Hjelmstad, Amie Baisley

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Mechanics Project was founded just over eight years ago at a large R1 university in the southwest. The objective of the project was to improve the learning experience in the sophomore level mechanics courses (statics, dynamics, and deformable solids). We have designed and implemented an engaged learning environment that encourages students to discover and explore the foundational engineering concepts in these courses more deeply, emphasizing 'why' as much as 'how' in the learning process. The courses associated with The Mechanics Project are designed around two-week modules that comprise four active recitation periods, one lecture, and one assessment. Most of the class time is spent in a highly engaged student-centered recitation environment, staffed by an instructor and a team of undergraduate teaching assistants. This structure allows the students to have a more individualized learning experience in a supportive environment. The frequent assessments make examinations less stressful and mastery-based grading allows each student to monitor their progress on achieving the individual course learning objectives. A course survey, administered each semester, shows a high level of student satisfaction with the instructional elements that make up the course structure. This paper describes the details of the course design and document some of the outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1388
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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