The 2007 Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware was awarded to Kirk Martini of the University of Virginia for Arcade: Interactive Non-linear Structural Analysis and Animation.
Arcade is a computer program for the simulation and animation of physical structures. Arcade uses a physics engine to model structural behavior. The physics engine models a collection of masses in motion, and can include several potential sources of force, including gravity, viscous drag, surfaces, plus springs connecting the masses. The program performs computations in real time, so that models respond instantly to input from the keyboard and mouse with a game-like interface. This approach has been widely used in computer graphics and games.
Jose Gomez of the University of Virginiaâ€™s Department of Civil Engineering comments: â€œArcade puts into graphical format what words just simply cannot convey. These kids have grown up with sophisticated graphics in their computer games so this is a wonderful educational tool.â€ Jim Axley of Yale Universityâ€™s Department of Architecture said of Arcade: â€œthe value of examining dynamic, material nonlinear, geometric nonlinear, and failure behavior in such a natural, direct way clearly opens up new possibilities for teaching.â€
Two Finalists were also announced â€“ Jeliot and JFLAP. Jeliot 3 by Niko Myller, AndrÃ©s Moreno Garcia, Roman Bednarik and Erkki Sutinen of the University of Joensuu; and Ronit Ben-Bassat Levy and Mordechai Ben-Ari of the Weizmann Institute of Science is a program animation system intended for teaching introductory programming. The animation is fully automatic and requires no modification of the source program or other intervention by the student or instructor. Students can execute the animations continuously or step-by-step.
Niko Myller uses â€œ. . . Jeliot during lectures to demonstrate different concepts of programming. This allows showing of concepts in a real situations as well as doing simple what-if analyses based on the questions raised during discussions in the class. Furthermore, students can use Jeliot to complete their home works and for self-study.â€
JFLAP 6.1 was developed by Susan H. Rodger of Duke University and her current and former undergraduate students Thomas Finley, Stephen Reading, Bartlett Bressler, Ryan Cavalcante, Jinghui Lim, Chris Morgan, and Kyung Min (Jason) Lee. JFLAP is a software tool for experimenting with finite automata, pushdown automata, Turing machines, grammars, parsing and L-systems. In addition to constructing and testing theoretical machines, JFLAP allows computer science students and faculty to experiment with construction proofs, such as converting a pushdown automaton to a context-free grammar.
Susan Rodger recommends using â€œthis software in a formal languages and automata course during lecture to work problems with students. Students can then use it for solving homework problems.â€ Susan and Thomas Finley have also authored a JFLAP book that can be used as a supplement to most automata theory textbooksâ€.
The Premier Award competition, hosted by the NSDL NEEDS/ Engineering Pathway, is open to a wide range of submissions of â€œhigh-quality, non-commercial courseware designed to enhance engineering education.â€ Submissions for 2008 are due by July 11, 2008, and the Premier Courseware of 2008 will be announced at the Frontiers In Education Conference to be held October 22-25 in Sarasota Springs, New York. More details on the Premier Award and current and previous winners can be found on the Engineering Pathway at: http://www.engineeringpathway.com/ep/premier/2008/index.jhtml.Â