Journal of Engineering Education
Interviews were conducted with students from a sophomore-level mechanics of materials class, a sophomore/junior-level structures class, a senior-level steel design class and a graduate-level advanced steel design class to investigate students’ conceptual understanding of bending and normal stress. The graduate students generally demonstrated higher computational skill and confidence but they were not significantly different from the sophomores in terms of conceptual understanding. Interestingly, the seniors showed markedly lower confidence in their ability to solve the problems posed in the interviews. Common difficulties include a conceptual definition of stress and reasoning involving the normal stresses developed under bending.
civil engineering, conceptual understanding, qualitative research methods
Given permission by the ©American Society for Engineering Education
Montfort, Devlin; Brown, Shane; and Pollock, David, "An Investigation of Students’ Conceptual Understanding in Related Sophomore to Graduate-Level Engineering and Mechanics Courses" (2009). Faculty Publications - Biomedical, Mechanical, and Civil Engineering. 41.