This online tutorial for constructing shear and moment diagrams allows students to practice evaluating beams under concentrated, distributed, and mixed loading conditions. The site provides 102 problems for students to practice constructing both shear and moment diagrams. Diagrams are constructed by dragging appropriate shapes from a shape panel to the empty diagram.
An overview of how to use the diagram tool is provided in the "How it Works" section. Movie clips are provided to demonstrate how each step in the process of diagram construction is performed. Additionally, a movie clip is available to demonstrate how the automated feedback process works when diagrams are improperly constructed.
The tutorial provides automated feedback for incorrect solutions through either text responses or a voice response provided through several different characters. Students can identify what is wrong with the diagram, and may choose to see/hear additional information about why their diagram is not correct.
Type of Material:
This is an online e-book providing a tutorial for constructing shear and moment diagrams.
This would be an excellent "practice" component for engineering students enrolled in statics, structures, or mechanics of materials courses. This tutorial, combined with the student's lecture notes and materials and textbook, would provide an excellent opportunity for enhanced learning and comprehension for students struggling with the construction of shear and moment diagrams.
This e-book could also be used by instructors to demonstrate construction of shear and moment diagrams to students.
This program is easy enough to be used by anyone who has a basic background in statics or structures.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The major learning goal for this online tutorial is for students to better understand how to construct shear and moment diagrams for beams under varying loading conditions (concentrated, distributed, mixed) through the opportunity to practice a significant number of problems having increasing difficulty, with automated feedback for problem solutions.
Target Student Population:
Students in their second year would benefit most from this website. This program could also be a useful review tool for others.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students will need to have a basic foundation and understanding of concepts involved in constructing sheer and moment diagrams. There is no overview to these concepts provided on the website. Although students will receive automated feedback for their solutions, it would be very difficult for a student to benefit from this site if they did not already possess basic knowledge of the construction of sheer and moment diagrams.
The content is broken up into clear sections (beams with concentrated, distributed, mixed loading), and problem difficulty increase as you proceed through a section, with very basic problems available at the beginning of each section.
When a student has finished constructing the diagrams, they will click on the "Check Diagram" button, and will see incorrect areas of diagrams highlighted in a red/pink color. Feedback provided indicates how the diagram should have been constructed (i.e. "Shear diagram is positive/negative, increasing/decreasing and linear/quadratic/etc. in this segment") and students can choose to obtain further information about why the diagram should be drawn a particular way.
Students must already understand the basic principles involved in constructing shear and moment diagrams. If a student is having extreme difficulty with this content, it might be helpful to have a movie clip demonstrating the construction of the diagram for the most simple problem in each section, with voice/text explaining why the diagram is being constructed in a particular manner.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This is an excellent tool for providing the opportunity to enhance learning and understanding of the construction of shear and moment diagrams. Students can use this tool on their own to obtain additional (and often much needed) practice. There are an ample number of problems and varying levels of difficulty for each type of loading condition. The feedback provided ensures that students can determine what they did wrong, and how to correct their diagram. This e-book could also be used very effectively as a teaching tool in the classroom by engineering faculty. This would provide another means of demonstration in the classroom,
and an opportunity to appeal to different learning styles. It would also be a great way to get students involved in the classroom in a more interactive experience.
Students may need to be required to use it.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
An overview is provided with movie clips demonstrating how to use the tool. Once a student/faculty member has tried a few on their own, it becomes a rather simple process to construct the diagram and receive feedback.
Small shapes are difficult to "drag" and remove from a diagram if they are incorrect. Users may have to enlarge the shape first before they are able to remove it.
The process of entering the values at endpoints of the moment diagram is a little clumsy at first. The button at the right hand side of the box where values are entered is small and slightly difficult to see.
Other Issues and Comments:
There are several additional features that make this tool very effective. Area values for the diagrams are revealed when the mouse is placed over the shaded region on the diagram, and it is particularly useful to have these for shear diagrams so that construction of moment diagrams is easier. Users should be able to do calculations in their head, rather than requiring a calculator because the area values are available. There is no mention of this feature in the overview, however.
This tutorial is also a great learning tool because it does not provide students with the correct diagram. It will provide them feedback as to how to fix their solution, but the user has to redraw the diagram correctly themselves.
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