Visual Engineering: Modeling a New Way to Learn
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Teaching complex relationships within engineering courses has typically relied on two-dimensional drawings or computer-aided slideshow presentations. However, educational research shows that most students are classified as visual learners, meaning they prefer to learn using active demonstrations and physical models, rather than the more passive, verbal lecture format. In the modern age, three-dimensional printing is readily available to instructors and would be more applicable for student engagement, thus enhancing student learning of the concepts. These printed tools could be used as a demonstration and potentially as a handout for the class and would allow the teachers a new level of sophistication in classroom instruction. Within this project, researchers developed models for two structural engineering-related topics, specifically identifying fracture patterns in steel connections and visualizing different modes of column buckling.