St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.29.1 - 5.29.9
A Lab for All Seasons, A Lab for All Reasons
David F. Ollis North Carolina State University
With NSF SUCCEED funding, we initiated six years ago a laboratory in which new engineering students would use and take apart familiar consumer electronics and household devices(1). These future engineers, in teams of two or three, would move through a series of roles with each device assigned:
READ an explanatory chapter to learn history and principles, USE the device to verify functionality and operability, DISSECT and reassemble the device to view mechanics, optics, and circuit boards, CALCULATE and analyze expected device performance, and TEACH (present) to other teams the principles and lessons learned.
Depending of the lab purpose and the level of detail requested in assignments, each activity may take 30 minutes to 2 hours. Each device can thus be covered in a period ranging from 4 hours to two days, thereby providing a scheduling flexibility which allows facile adaptation to different program purposes.
We first discuss the various pedagogical motivations for such a lab (A Lab for All Reasons), then summarize our experiences and plans to utilize the lab year round (Lab for all Seasons).
A Lab for All Reasons
We have offered the course in several formats, described in the later section, "A Lab for All Seasons." In nearly all of these, a common set of educational advantages appears to pertain, as we now summarize.
The devices in our current lab include these consumer electronics and common household examples: bar code scanner, CD player, electric and acoustic guitars, facsimile (FAX) machines, the Internet (virtual device), internal combustion (lawnmower) engine, photocopier, optical fiber communication, satellite TV, video camera and videocassette recorder, and water purifier. The ability touch, use, dissect, and reassemble these current engineering devices provides an holistic, direct experience with real world objects rather than with abstract
Ollis, D. F. (2000, June), A Lab For All Seasons, A Lab For All Reasons Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8525
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