Traditional course delivery, with daily in-class lecture and a textbook for reference, presents a number of shortcomings. In traditional lecture, students must transcribe notes from the board, which may take their attention away from the critical thinking associated with trying to understand the material. Additionally, students tend to not use textbooks as the instructor intends, but rather choose to pattern match examples to homework problems, which again limits their deeper understanding of course content. Instructor-developed workbooks have the ability to remedy some of these shortcomings, either as a replacement for or supplement to an existing course textbook.
The present paper discusses the implementation of course workbooks into a number of sophomore through senior level Mechanical and Construction Engineering courses at [Institution]. These course workbooks act as a more focused and condensed resource for students to use throughout the course. While these workbooks have no resale value, they typically cost approximately 10% of the price of a course textbook, depending on a variety of customization options and number of pages. Most students do not feel that the workbooks are a large financial burden, and they tend to use their workbooks for note taking, problem solving, and studying for exams.
These workbooks have been adopted by 6 faculty members across 8 courses and take a variety of different forms, which will be discussed in this paper. This initiative has spread organically through the department as a solution to a variety of issues regularly faced by the faculty. In some implementations, these workbooks have been helpful in reducing pre-class faculty preparation, as it eliminates the need for printing daily handouts, both for in-class exercises in a flipped class and as example problems in a traditional lecture. In other implementations, the workbooks contain lecture material so that students spend less time copying notes and more time engaging with the professor as they explain concepts. This caters to a range of different learning styles, as some students still choose to take their own notes, but more audible learners prefer to just listen and follow along in class. The workbooks have also been used to deliver supplemental problems, learning objectives, and hints for problem solving. In the present implementation, students have reported that they find the workbooks valuable, use them to study for exams, follow along with lecture more closely, and work ahead more.
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