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A Laboratory Based, Problem Solving Pedagogy Prepares Engineering Technology Graduates to Succeed on the Job

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Integrating Curriculum and Labs in Engineering Technology Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.57.1 - 23.57.6



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Paper Authors


John Marshall University of Southern Maine

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John Marshall received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is the departmental Internship Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. His areas of specialization include Power and Energy Processing, Applied Process Control Engineering, Applied Automation Engineering, Fluid Power, and Facility Planning.

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A Laboratory Based, Problem Solving Pedagogy Prepares Engineering Technology Graduates To Succeed on the JobOur advancing world of computer integration, process control, industrial automation, andtelecommunications requires effective leadership skills and sophisticated technicalcompetences. These skills and competencies must be real world and cutting edge.Industrial partnering has enabled the development of a state-of-the-art power andautomation curriculum and problem solving learning environment for our students andfor the communities beyond campus.The lab based problem solving environment is organized into clusters. These clusters areequipped with components such as computers, printers, programmable logic controllers,sensors, pneumatic valves and actuators, mechanisms, rotary index tables, hydrauliccylinders, electric motors, and vibratory feeder bowls. Participants are grouped intoteams that solve realistic industrial problems such as parts sorting, quality control, clampand work circuits, material handling, and component assembly.Students find this capstone level lab based course both challenging and rewarding as theyare required to integrate subject matter learned from many courses throughout their entiredegree program. This well developed course integrates competences mastered in othercourses such as computer-assisted design, spreadsheet and database utilization, materialprocessing, computer programming, and ergonomics. Students actually use every lab inthe building (CAD lab, materials lab, welding lab, etc.) but the focal point is the complexyet inviting industrial problem solving lab. This unique project based course continuallychallenges the student to advance, grow, internalize and demonstrate the new knowledgeand techniques they are leaning.The goal of this session will be to provide the participants with insight into the “lab basedproblem solving learning environment” that was created with industrial partnering andrelative few additional dollars. The discussion will also identify how the “need” for thistype of project based curriculum became obvious. Accomplishments and outcomes fromthe student perspective, the University perspective, and the industry perspective will alsobe shared.

Marshall, J. (2013, June), A Laboratory Based, Problem Solving Pedagogy Prepares Engineering Technology Graduates to Succeed on the Job Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19071

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