Learning advanced engineering online: from distance delivery to online learning of finite element analysis

Martin, Keith; Cupples, Andrew and Taherzadeh, Shahram (2019). Learning advanced engineering online: from distance delivery to online learning of finite element analysis. European Journal of Engineering Education, 45(3) pp. 457–472.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2019.1647408

Abstract

This paper reviews an Open University module for distance learning of finite element analysis (FEA) in MEng degree qualifications recognised for Chartered status. Presentation has evolved from physical hard copy study packs to fully online. The emphasis is on understanding limits and assumptions behind all aspects of FEA for safe and effective use. Guided exercises bring out modelling and analysis issues in real systems. Case studies of a Formula 1 racing car focus on a stepped approach illustrating the FEA process. The paper outlines the assessment processes and teaching philosophies, expected outcomes, marking, handling and processing of students’ final results. The paper gives observations of many years of presenting education modules in FEA for study at a distance. It gives recommendations for module design, content and styles of presentation, and an evaluation of online study compared with traditional methods. Challenges include providing text, video sequences and complicated mathematics in online form for use on different access devices.

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