June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
New Engineering Educators
15.63.1 - 15.63.8
A New Approach: Using the Electronics Laboratory More Efficiently and Safely
Use and administration of the electronics laboratories are very important due to safety concerns and variety of parts and equipment. There are a variety of components and devices which need to be organized and monitored for different lab experiments. Electronics laboratories serve a variety of students with different knowledge levels for their lab classes and various projects that are taught to major/minor and non-major students. Lab sections of the classes are taught on different levels from basics to advance. The type and electronics knowledge of students differs depending on their major/minor and students come with differing abilities to operate the various electronic devices on the workbenches. Some students enroll for lab sections of classes, accidently or purposefully try to operate or relocate different devices without knowledge of working operations of a device. It is also common to see scattered or misplaced electronics components. Students may not be able to find the right components because of misplaced parts and instead use the wrong components if that component was not checked in right place or to the instructor. To locate required components sometimes takes students’ lab time and is usually not considered when deadline of lab submission arrives. To reduce safety concerns, develop component organization, prevent time wasting to locate the parts and include time to locate components, faculty and students developed a novel plan to use workbenches, lab components and testing devices/equipment more efficiently. In addition to fundamental laboratory safety measures and component management, unique lab management demonstrations are explained by reorganizing the lab to meet the criteria of the proposed arrangements. Students and faculty in the program can thus save time and reduce safety concerns by novel administration and organization in the lab environment since Fall 2008 semester.
Laboratory safety is very important, particularly in undergraduate laboratories where students develop practices and habits initially that they may carry with them throughout their future careers [1-3]. Because this importance is generally agreed upon, undergraduate engineering labs include some amount of safety training, encompassing at a minimum a long list of safety rules [4- 5] . These rules are often explained on the first day of lab, along with the course syllabus. Despite of safety precautions, however, some accidents, near misses, and laboratory rule violations continue to occur either intentionally or accidently. Two major causes for these continuing safety violations are forgetfulness and complacency, the latter of which can be considered as forgetfulness of the importance and significance of the rules, as opposed to forgetfulness of the rules themselves. The bottom line is that safe practices are not retained in students' memory as well as we all would like.
Safety in the electronics laboratory requires that the student have knowledge of potential hazards, safety precautions, and common sense. The most common hazard is electric shock, which can be fatal. Observing safety precautions is critical due to hazards found in any electronics laboratory. A fatality is usually certain when 0.1A or more flows through the head or upper thorax. The current depends on body resistance, the resistance between body and ground (moisture and wet
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