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A Low Cost, Interdisciplinary, Engineering Instrumentation Laboratory Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.58.1 - 7.58.6

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Paper Authors

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Robert Drake

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Mark Driver

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Eric Welch

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session # 2793

A Low-cost, Interdisciplinary, Engineering Instrumentation Laboratory Course

R. L. Drake, M. A. Driver, E. B. Welch School of Engineering Christian Brothers University Memphis, Tennessee 38104


A question often asked of engineering deans is the following:

"Dean, how can I conduct a meaningful engineering instrumentation laboratory course with such a small budget?"

This paper reports the results of efforts to provide such a course at the School of Engineering, Christian Brothers University.

The course is interdisciplinary in that the students are exposed to experiments and instructors from different disciplines. This is considered desirable in that the students are exposed to a greater breadth of viewpoint and wider background of the instructors as well as being exposed to a wider range of physical measurements. There are significant budgetary advantages of the interdisciplinary nature of the course in that the cost of equipment can be distributed across the budgets of more than a single department.

Equipment cost for the course is relatively low. Several factors are involved in this. Extended use is made of general purpose test equipment such as digital multimeters, oscilloscopes, and signal generators. Low cost sensors, electronics at the component level, student strain gages, etc., are used. Large special purpose systems are avoided and simple systems are constructed on site from the component level.

Senior-level professors teach the course. In using senior professors to teach small sections, salary expenditure is relatively high, but such an arrangement is compatible with desires of a small school of engineering to provide an unusual amount of personal attention and close supervision to each student.

Within the text of the paper, typical experiments are described. Details of the experiments are made available. Typical equipment costs are made available. Some surprises have been experienced and are discussed.

"Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education" Main Menu

Drake, R., & Driver, M., & Welch, E. (2002, June), A Low Cost, Interdisciplinary, Engineering Instrumentation Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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