Employing an active learning method in an introductory aerospace engineering course

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


A common behavior amongst college students is that they are too passive during most of their courses; all the information that they need is fed to them via lectures, reinforced with problem sets, and measured via exams. While this is effective in the short run, it does not encourage deep conceptual understanding of the material. Furthermore, it does not help the students to learn how to learn, which has been identified by ABET as one the required Program Outcomes. To overcome this, an active learning method has been employed in the introductory aerospace engineering course at Syracuse University for the past three years. For each new topic covered in the course, the students are first required to read the textbook and solve textbook-derived problems. Then when they enter class the following week and turn in their homework problems, they are given a mini-lecture followed by a short, ungraded, multiple-choice quiz that is designed to highlight the most important underlying concepts in the subject matter. Through discussion of the quizzes and the homework problems, the students are able to connect the subject material with other similar problems. Several assessment instruments are used to show this teaching method to be effective, and it has increased student satisfaction and has improved the retention of first-year students. This new method is described herein, along with a complete description of the learning modules associated with the standard atmosphere and airplane performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2006
Event44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 2006 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 9 2006Jan 12 2006

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting


Other44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 2006
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Aerospace Engineering


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