ASEE Prism On-line, February 2000

By Vicky Hendley

The neighborhood that is the Web allows educators as well as companies specializing in engineering-related software to share their learning modules, lecture notes, tutorials, and experiments. Here is a sampling of some sites specializing in engineering and engineering-related education tools and resources.

Martindale's "The Reference Desk"’s “The Reference Desk”

    If it's not here, you probably don't really need it. A potpourri of engineering, science, and health reference information, this site has literally thousands of resources for educators and students. A good first stop on the site is the Virtual Engineering Center (, which has direct access or links to numerous databases, tutorials, course materials, online textbooks, dictionaries, and glossaries, broken down by discipline.

    The site also includes the Calculators Online Center, which links to almost 10,000 different online calculators specifically designed for particular tasks. The Engineering A-Z page ( ) links to calculators for everything from acoustics engineering to wastewater engineering.


Education by Design (Autodesk Classroom) by Design (Autodesk Classroom)

    Autodesk keeps improving and expanding its site for the education community, and the results are always impressive. For educators new to Autodesk and Discreet software or interested in integrating or expanding its use in their classroom, the Curricula Resources Center has free lessons, units, and courses for download. The material isn't just the company's presentation of what you should do with the software but "tried-and-true curricula materials" written by educators and used in their classrooms.

    The Faculty of Distinction and Spotlight sections profile some of those faculty members and their exemplary teaching methods. You can even submit your curriculum for consideration by the Autodesk Classroom Review Board for publication on the site.

    This site also features a Web Resources section with links to information on professional development and teacher training, fund raising sources and more.


Educators Corner

    educatorscorner.comEducators Corner

    Agilent Laboratories, which recently split off from Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, now maintains this site, which bills itself as "a gift box full of tools designed to make your day more productive and rewarding. . . . engineering reference tools and lecture materials to save you time." The site does live up to its promises, offering some of the best electrical engineering-related education tools on the Web.

    A good place to start is in the EE Reference section, which offers such engineering tools as standard resistor values and basic LaPlace transforms. The information is also available in PowerPoint and pdf formats so you and your students can download the material and keep it on your computers for quick reference.

    The Lectures section includes interactive exercises and application notes, tutorial articles, speaker notes, and slide presentations. And don't miss the Cartoons section, a good source for humorous illustrations of common EE terms and phrases to spice up your lectures and slide presentations.


Control Tutorials for MatLab

    Control Tutorials for MatLab If your students (or you) need an introduction or a refresher in MatLab, the interactive program for numerical computation and data visualization used by most engineers, the online tutorials at the Control Tutorials for MatLab should be your first stop. The tutorials include an introduction to the popular software; modeling, PID controls, root locus, frequency response analysis and design, state space equations, and digital control, as well as numerous examples.

    Bill Messner, a mechanical engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and Dawn Tilbury, a mechanical engineering and applied mechanics professor at the University of Michigan, developed the tutorials with a grant from the National Science Foundation.


Knowing How to Practice Safe Science

    Knowing How to Practice Safe Science or

    Produced by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, this site offers an online laboratory safety course for new researchers and research assistants. Topics covered include hazards in such processes as centrifugation, mammalian cell culture, and X-ray diffraction; working with human blood and radioactive materials; and emergency response and hazard communication/chemical safety. Each section includes a quiz on the subject matter. The course is a quick but thorough introduction to lab safety basics.


Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation

    For your more advanced students, you might recommend this interesting site, which gives a step-by-step explanation of the thesis and dissertation process. Written by S. Joseph Levine, a professor and graduate student advisor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, the site offers a step-by-step guide through the many aspects of crafting, implementing, and defending a thesis or dissertation.

    Levine is also the author of the Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal site (, which provides both instructions on how to write a funding proposal and examples of completed proposals.


    Vicky Hendley, former assistant managing editor of Prism,
    is editor of the AAHE Bulletin.

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