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A Pilot Study of a Novel Set of Three Courses for Teaching Electrical System Analysis to Mechanical Engineering Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Using Laboratories for Instruction in Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Paul E. Slaboch St. Martin's University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Slaboch is an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Master of Mechanical Engineering program at St. Martin's University. His main research areas are experimental fluid mechanics and heat transfer with a focus on vortical flows and aircraft wake turbulence.

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Floraliza Bornasal Oregon State University

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Floraliza B. Bornasal is an Assistant Professor at Saint Martin's University. Her research explores engineering practice and learning in workplace contexts. She received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Saint Martin’s University, her master’s degree in civil engineering - with a focus in transportation - at Oregon State University, and her doctoral degree (also from Oregon State University) focused on engineering education. Address: The Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering, Saint Martin's University, 5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey, WA 98503; Phone: 509-499-5187; Email:

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Rico Picone Saint Martin's University

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For many years in the mechanical engineering curriculum, the topics of electric circuit design, mechatronics and instrumentation have all been taught as separate courses. However, these topics are all fundamentally related through the manipulation of electrical energy to produce some desired result, whether it be to turn on a light, turn an electric motor, or measure the stress in a beam. In an effort to more explicitly demonstrate how these subjects are related, a set of three courses, meant to be taken concurrently, was developed to integrate these topics. Two lecture based courses, one covering mechatronics and one covering instrumentation and experimental design, as well as a laboratory course that put to use the knowledge gained in those lectures, were created and implemented during the fall semester of 2014. The students enrolled in these three courses were junior level (third year) students. The lectures for both courses were taught by one faculty member (i.e. Faculty A), while a second faculty member (i.e. Faculty B) taught the lab course. In the following year, the faculty who taught the lab course (Faculty B) taught one of the lectures while the other taught a lecture and the lab. Close collaboration between the two faculty members ensured that the topics being covered in lecture kept pace with the labs so that students were able to see the theory and then put it directly to use in the laboratory. Two methods of evaluation of course learning outcomes suggested that students were better able to relate topics that were common between courses and had a stronger understanding of all topics. Assessment of the course learning outcomes included the analysis of final exams and midterm quizzes. Additionally, a pilot study of semi-structured interviews with six students from the first cohort has also been performed to determine whether students recognized concepts from this course in a different context, namely the students’ senior design projects.

Slaboch, P. E., & Bornasal, F., & Picone, R. (2016, June), A Pilot Study of a Novel Set of Three Courses for Teaching Electrical System Analysis to Mechanical Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26394

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