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Ergonomics of Learning in a Very Descriptive Applied Human Factors Course

[+] Author Affiliations
Mulchand S. Rathod

Wayne State University

Paper No. IMECE2005-79719, pp. 463-471; 9 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2005-79719
From:
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME

abstract

Teaching profession continues to hold its status as a noble profession and university faculty are held with high esteem by the general population. Some faculty teaching in engineering and technical programs have begun to address the pedagogy of learning in recent years. This is supported by a number of initiatives at the national level. Besides funding of such activities by organizations such as the National Science Foundation, engineering professional societies have created forums and awards to recognize and promote teaching and learning of engineering subject matter. This paper addresses an experiment in improved learning by students of a subject matter that is very descriptive and non-traditional as compared to most engineering subjects. The applied human factors course is an elective course for engineering technology (ET) students and a required course for the (non-technical) industrial design students from the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts (CFPCA) at Wayne State University (WSU). Technical students are more comfortable with equations and formulas where as the non-technical students have practically no exposure to such things. Setting for this course was a multi-media distance learning laboratory and the teacher had an important task of not just covering the material, but to increase student interest to optimize their learning. Although all the teaching material for the course was prepared for presentation in power point, after a discussion with the class, it was decided to make the learning process different from the traditional teaching. The class was divided in three groups and each group was given a reading assignment covering one third of the material to be covered in each class session. Each group met on a regular basis going over its assignment and breaking up the task for each team member to lead presentation and discussion for the next class. Learning objectives addressed in the course included team work, effective communication, system design and implementation, continued student participation, and effective learning for long term retention besides the contents of the subject matter. Overall, students really felt they were learning a lot and achieving unexpected new presentation skills. This paper would summarize a very positive experience of all dealing with learning pedagogy.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME

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