Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies
This research paper will describe the results of a systematic review of engineering course catalogs and program requirements that sought to answer the question, “How many lab classes does an engineering student take?”. This study is motivated by two observations: first, literature suggests that labs have historically served a critical role in the education of engineering students, but second, ABET does not list any requirements for the number of laboratories that engineers must take, instead offering the requirement a program provides “experimental experience appropriate to the program.” This study provides a quantitative summary of how different programs interpret that charge, and that summary can be used as a benchmark for programs to evaluate their own laboratory offerings.
Naturally, the number of labs a student takes could be influenced by many factors, including programmatic resources and the requirements of different engineering sub-disciplines. Accordingly, catalogs and program requirements were collected from several engineering disciplines and from the top and bottom of college rankings. The number of lab and non-lab classes in each program were compared in a statistical linear model that accounted for the rank of the program and the engineering sub-discipline.
Results show that there are significant differences between the distributions of number of labs in electrical and mechanical engineering curricula, but that there are not significant differences based on the ranking of the schools. The results show that 50.1% of the required engineering classes in an undergraduate electrical engineering program contain hardware-based laboratories, and 39.1% of mechanical engineering courses require laboratories. The high proportion of laboratory classes in curricula reaffirms the importance of research into the pedagogy of laboratory design.
Byrnes, E., & Mahsud, Y. A., & Rosen, S., & Spencer, M. (2020, June), A Survey of the Proportion of Classes in Undergraduate Engineering Curricula that Include Labs Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34066
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015