About the resource

About the project

This Online Information Resource (OIR) was developed in 2020 as a testbed for ideas about how information for STEM learning may be structured.
This version demonstrates how information may be presented for learning about structural mechanics. It is focused on the structural mechanics component of the SQA subject Higher Engineering Science and on a ‘Statics’ subject for first year university learners. It is intended for use by learners and by teachers.


Features of the resource include:

  • Hyperlinking: extensive use is made of hyperlinks. This is demonstrated in the Nodal Analysis key example
  • Applications sheets: These are short examples of the use of structural mechanics in supporting engineering decision making. Applications have step by step calculations but do not contain in-depth commentary or explanation of theory. They can be used by teachers to introduce a topic and by learners for finding out how topics are used in practice.
  • Key examples: worked examples that also give detailed explanations of the processes being used and definitions of the concepts.
  • Videos to complement the written documents (only one presently availale – for Nodal Analysis).
  • Explanations: pages explaining the theory/processes behind structural mechanics. Thes link to examples, application sheets or external resources.
  • Exercises: Examples for practice that give solutions on a separate file.
  • Dictionary providing concise definitions.

The expectation is that, via the provision of information in different forms and by shortening the information paths by hyperlinking, use of Stempedia will lead to faster and more effective learning.

Using the resource

Ideas about how the resource may be used.

Provide us with feedback

The next stage is to seek advice about its potential so as to decide how best to proceed with its development. Please help us by reviewing the website and please contacting us by making a comment from one of the pages or by contacting Iain at: mailto:msa@imacleod.com.


This version was prepared in July/August 2020 by Iain MacLeod, Amy Lillico and Ann-Cathrin Reissmann. Amy and Ann-Cathrin are students in Civil Engineering at Glasgow University. Their contribution to the project was funded by the Scottish Branch of the Institution of Structural Engineers and by the Institution of Engineers in Scotland.

For a blog post about the project from Amy and Ann-Cathrin see here
For a blog post introduction to the project from Iain see here

Development issues

Style More work is needed to develop the style of presentation. The pages and documents in the resource should be reconfigured to a professional standard.

Software platform The WordPress template used for the prototype of the resource isadequate for a demonstration but not suitable for an OIR.

Document format Pdf format was used for convenience. It is likely that html will be the main document format.

1 reply on “About the resource”

Hello. I’ve had a look at the nodal analysis document and I think it’s well-written and clear. I do have some suggestions though: firstly I think that either the truss being modeled should be changed to one that is actually pin-jointed throughout (rather than being made with continuous bottom and top chords) or there should be some discussion of why the truss is being modelled as pin-jointed. Probably the easiest way to do this would be to add a bit more detail to the “comparison of engineering models” page so that it is clear that the truss in the picture isn’t actually pin-jointed. I know this is definitely something that would have confused me in first year. The other thing I would suggest is to start with a more intuitive walk-through of what’s happening in the truss as the document is very maths-heavy from the start. You could make use of a loading animation from ROBOT for example to show the members going into tension and compression (with colours) as the loads are increased or a deflected-shape animation which clearly shows the bottom chord stretching. Also I think the document could use more colour throughout, maybe the horizontal equilibrium calcs could be a different colour to the vertical ones for example. Finally I would say that this will make a really good support document to go along with a series of lectures and tutorials but I don’t think most people would be able to learn statics from a written document by itself. On the whole though I think this is very clear and well-written. I wish I’d had something like this when I was doing statics. Keep up the good work.



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