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A Laboratory-based, Problem-solving Pedagogy Prepares Students to Hit the Job Market Running!

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Improving the Pedagogy of Laboratory Courses

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.59.1 - 25.59.7



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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, automation, fluid power, and facility planning.

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William Marshall Alief Independent School District

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William Marshall is the Director of Instructional Technology and Career and Technical Education for the Alief Independent School District in Texas. He provides supervision of Program Managers in the areas of career and technical education, computer interventions, distance learning, information literacy, technology applications, campus technology specialists, and library information specialists.

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A Laboratory Based, Problem Solving Pedagogy Prepares Students To Hit the Job Market Running!Our 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., & Marshall, W. (2012, June), A Laboratory-based, Problem-solving Pedagogy Prepares Students to Hit the Job Market Running! Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20819

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