Journal for Geometry and Graphics, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 201-209 (1999)

A Course in Spatial Visualisation

Bruce W. Field

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Monash University
Clayton, Victoria, 3800, Australia

Abstract: One of the higher level skills required of engineers is that of spatial visualisation. A common measure of spatial visualisation is the Mental Cutting Test (MCT), where subjects attempt to identify the correct cross section resulting from a cut through a solid object, presented pictorially. When students in Engineering at Monash University were tested by the MCT, it was found that there was no apparent development of the skill over the duration of their course. However, students who had undertaken a special 52 hour course in Spatial Visualisation during 1995, 1996, 1997 or 1998 improved their MCT scores significantly compared to a control group of students. In the latter years, modified forms of the MCT were used: these variants were found to be slightly more difficult for weak visualisers, so their improvement in skill was reflected in a larger increase in MCT score. It was concluded that it was possible to increase the visualisation skills of students, where the MCT is used as the measure of the skill.

Keywords: Visualisation, Mental Cutting Test, graphics education

Classification (MSC2000): 51N05

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