Dr. Alarcon teaches Mechanics of Materials (CEE216/BME271), Statics and Dynamics (Engineering Analysis II). She has also taught DTCII- Design Thinking and Communication as well as System Dynamics (Engineering Analysis III).
Dr. Alarcon received her Ph. D. in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University, studying the constitutive modeling of direct measures of strain in simulated fault gauge. She also received a Ph. D. at the University of Sevilla. She has an M.S degree from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Civil Engineering School) and Northwestern University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Illinois and is a member of the Structural Engineering Association of Illinois (SEAOI) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Prior to teaching at Northwestern she worked for over 5 years for Halvorson and Partners on major building projects such as Torre Repsol in Madrid (Spain).
The courses Mechanics of Materials CEE 216/BME271 and Engineering Analysis II: Statics and Dynamics only use traditional books. Some students need to be engaged in different ways since this class may not be part of their major. I integrated lightboard videos on Canvas to provide supplemental learning tools for students. I also implemented in-class quizzes using Canvas to monitor student progress.
Example of Mechanics of Materials Fall 2015 Syllabus
|1||21-Sep||Organization and Equilibrium||1.1 – 1.2|
|22-Sep||Normal Stress and Shear Stress||1.3 – 1.5 & videos PL1|
|29-Sep||Axial Loading & Superposition||4.1-4.3 & videos PL2|
|6-Oct||Angle of twist||5.4|
|7-Oct||Indeterminate Torque-Loaded Members||5.5|
|9-Oct||Indeterminate Torque-Loaded Members|
|14-Oct||Pure Bending||6.3, 6.4|
|16-Oct||Moment of Inertia||A.1, A.2 & videos PL3|
|5||19-Oct||Moment of Inertia|
|20-Oct||Shear Force and Bending Moment||6.1, 6.2|
|21-Oct||Shear Force and Bending Moment|
|23-Oct||Shear Force and Bending Moment||videos PL4|
|6||26-Oct||Shear Force and Bending Moment|
|27-Oct||Shear Force and Bending Moment|
|28-Oct||Shear Stress in Beams||7.1, 7.2|
|30-Oct||Shear Stress in Beams|
|7||2-Nov||Shear Stress in Beams|
|3-Nov||Stress Transformations||9.1, 9.2|
|4-Nov||Mohr’s Circle||9.4 & videos PL5|
|8||9-Nov||Principal Stress, Max Shear||9.3|
|9||16-Nov||The elastic curve||12.1|
|17-Nov||Deflection of beams||12.2, 12.3|
|20-Nov||Statically Indeterminate Beams||12.6, 12.7 & videos PL6|
|10||23-Nov||Statically Indeterminate Beams|
|24-Nov||Statically Indeterminate Beams|
|11||30-Nov||Buckling of Columns||13.1-13.3 & videos PL7|
Example Quiz Fall 2015
This project shows how to increase the level of engagement for students, particularly those who might be taking the class to fulfill a breadth requirement. This includes adding YouTube videos recorded in Northwestern’s lightboard studio as well as quizzes to test students’ knowledge of the material before the lecture. I created 21 video lectures organized in playlist by topic (PL on the syllabus shown above) for a total of 7 playlists. Each contained 3 or 4 videos or about 8 minutes each since this is the time that has proven to be optimal to maintain engagement. Some videos required that I wrote before starting to record due to the length of the content, on some others I just wrote as I spoke like in a regular classroom setting.
The following video corresponds to one of the key topics in Mechanics of Materials: Bending of beams and drawing the shear and bending diagrams for a very characteristic load: the distributed load.
The main objective of this project was to provide supplemental learning tools to engage students in a classroom-like setting outside the classroom.
The videos were a success since they can watch them multiple times in preparation for the tests. The class response to those was very positive. A large majority of the class used them even though there were no grade incentives, watching them was extra credit if a quiz was filled afterwards.
Through discussion with students, I learned that they liked the Lightboard videos because they could watch the material multiple times if needed. In addition, some students even came to class with insightful questions that led to further discussion in class. Quizzes were not as useful; the challenges of quiz preparation outweigh the benefits.
This work only looks at limited data (3 quarters). Since Mechanics of Materials (CEE216/BME271) is a core class, we will have more data in the upcoming quarters. It will be useful to keep track of the surveys given to students after the videos to analyze the results and quatify the improvement in their performance.
I can also quatify the response for Statics (EA2) since some of the videos can be used in that class.
I would like to thank Professor Peshkin and Professor Birdwell for their support while working on the videos. Their help and insight was very much appreciated.
For more information on the Lightboard please visit: http://lightboard.info