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Supporting Inductive Learning in Engineering Courses
February 6, 2014          11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET

Engineering instructors are typically restricted to a narrow range of simplified models that apply to both white-board lectures and hands-on labs. This is as true in a mechanical vibrations course as it is in an electrical circuits or biomedical instrumentation course. More complex systems, which are more representative of reality, are generally too difficult to derive and understand and require more time than is available in an undergraduate curriculum. As a result, students are not given the opportunity to see how the concepts they are learning in class apply to real-world problems. Fortunately, new tools are available that allow the instructor to greatly expand the complexity of their models while reinforcing the link between concepts, models, and system behavior. 

This webinar explores how MapleSim, the advanced physical modeling and simulation software from Maplesoft, was successfully applied to an instrumentation course.  Using MapleSim, students schematically represent electrical and mechanical systems, simulate their changes over time, and examine the analytical equations which underlie the model.  These equations, which are generated automatically by MapleSim, are in a form that is similar to what students see in class, so students can examine them to derive further insight into the dynamics of their systems.  MapleSim, used in conjunction with traditional hands-on electronics lab activities, permits the students to explore the behavior of the systems of interest in an inductive learning manner more representative of natural, everyday learning. 


Dr. James Andrew Smith, PhD, PEng.
Electrical and Biomedical Engineering Professor
Ryerson University

Dr. Smith specializes in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.  His research combines aspects of biomechanics and robotics, with active research projects in legged systems, obstetrics and surgical systems.

James Andrew Smith received BSc and MSc degrees in Electrical Engineering at the University of Alberta in 1998 and 2001, respectively. In 2006 he completed a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at McGill University.  From 2006 to 2008 he conducted research on legged systems at the University of Jena's Lauflabor Locomotion Laboratory in Jena, Germany.

Shola Slough
Technical Communications Specialist

With many years of experience in client support and technical training, Shola Slough is a seasoned speaker and presenter who has a natural ability to communicate complex technical content to a diverse audience.

Shola Slough received her BEng in Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 2001. She continues to draw on her engineering background in her current technical communications role.

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