Theory to practice on finite element method and computational fluid dynamics tools
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Computer-aided engineering has become increasingly important in engineering practices, where processes such as mathematical modelling, stress and deformation analysis can be performed by an individual engineer, without the need for a range of specialists. A case study was conducted at Curtin University Sarawak (CSM) to evaluate the performance of mechanical engineering students in the usage of finite element method and computational fluid dynamics tools. CSM is a branch campus of Curtin University, Australia, where the course structures and all assessments are identical to those of her mother campus. The curriculum design and teaching materials are developed by Curtin University, Australia. Similar teaching contents are delivered in CSM. The aim of the study is to investigate the students’ comprehension in the theoretical knowledge and its applications in practical engineering problems. This paper describes the learning experience of mechanical engineering students, in particular, the correlation between theoretical knowledge and engineering practice. Teaching experience of academic staffs was also detailed, discussed and mapped against the students’ views to give a comprehensive picture of the students’ learning experience. Based on the study, it was shown that the teaching methodology plays a crucial role in ensuring effective learning. An initial study which compared graphical user interface and programming teaching approach was conducted, in which the latter has showed to be more effective.
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