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Journal for Geometry and Graphics 09 (2005), No. 1, 099--105
Copyright Heldermann Verlag 2005

Impact of Changes in Course Methodologies on Improving Spatial Skills

Sheryl A. Sorby
College of Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Rm 712 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, U.S.A.

Since 1993, Michigan Tech has offered a course aimed at improving the spatial skills of incoming engineering students who have a demonstrated weakness in ability as measured by the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Rotations (PSVT:R). In the fall of 2000, this course was altered dramatically in terms of both content and instructional delivery method. In the new version of the course, students meet for one 2-hour session each week over a 15-week period of time. During each course session students work with multimedia software designed to improve their spatial skills and complete sketching exercises from a workbook. Less emphasis is now placed on lecture in our new course, however, sketching hand-held objects remains an integral part. This paper will examine results from the revised course and compare our findings with results from the previous version of the course. Particular attention will be paid to changes in success and retention rates among students with weak initial spatial skills.

Keywords: Spatial visualization, remediation, gender differences.

MSC: 51N05

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