Stempedia.com was launched on 1 September 2020 as a demonstration of a way of presenting information for learning about technical subjects. The next stage is to seek advice about its potential so as to decide how best to proceed with its development.
Funding for the development has been provided by the Scottish Branch of the Institution of Structural Engineers and by the Institution of Engineers in Scotland. Their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.
Amy Lillico and Ann-Cathrin Reissmann were recruited to work on the project during the summer months of 2020. They are students about to enter the 5th year of the MEng course in Civil Engineering at the University of Glasgow. They have done great work, it has been a pleasure to work with them and I am most grateful to them for their contributions.
This demonstrator version covers only structural mechanics because that is a subject on which I have experience and a special interest. For information about my career see here.
I have a longstanding view that (a) learning material for subjects such as structural mechanics should be provided online so as to take advantage of the browsing and searching functions of the internet and (b) that structural mechanics tends to be taught in a way that too remote from its application. By application I mean the use of the results of calculations in making engineering decisions. This version of Stempedia is set up to address both of these issues.
It has become increasingly evident to me that everyone has a different understanding of what concepts such as ‘force’ mean. One cannot give an explanation of force that will be entirely in accord with other people’s perception of it. The development of understanding is about making associations in your brain and working with explanations, applications, examples and definitions is a good way of building such associations. Using internet browsing and searching is a very useful strategy for supporting such learning. The stempedia concept seeks to make this activity more effective by shortening the paths to information that is relevant to the needs of different types of learner.
Iain A MacLeod 31.08.20