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Advanced Laboratory As Liberal Education

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.140.1 - 6.140.10



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David Probst

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

Session 2661

Advanced Laboratory as Liberal Education David K. Probst Southeast Missouri State University


The first semester advanced physics laboratory course has been structured in a way that permits students to receive credit for an interdisciplinary course in the liberal education program of Southeast Missouri State University. It achieves this by integrating the disciplines of physics, engineering physics, mathematics, written communication, and oral communication. As a result, students can complete a course requirement for a major or a minor in physics or engineering physics and simultaneously complete part of the general education requirement of the University. In this paper, we will describe the course, PH345/UI330 Experimental Methods I, our general education curriculum called University Studies, and how this course satisfies the objectives of both a major or minor in physics or engineering physics and the objectives of the University Studies Program.

I. Introduction

Students are often surprised upon entering industry or graduate school by how much skill is required in areas that most of them spent little effort developing in undergraduate school. Such skills include self education and research on a topic, designing and conducting an experiment based on that research, and presenting the results of such efforts in writing and orally. My own experience was very much this way when I entered industry after undergraduate school. Although I had completed degrees in physics and electrical engineering, I had done very little experimental design, I had never learned to solder, and I had done very little formally to develop my communication skills. This caused considerable stress during my first few months on the job. When I began teaching and had the opportunity to participate in revising a two-course sequence in advanced physics lab, I was eager to try to create a laboratory sequence that prepared students more adequately for professional life after graduation than my own undergraduate education had prepared me. The course sequence that was developed not only meets our own programmatic needs, but the first course also meets the objectives for an interdisciplinary course in our University Studies Program 1. Fortuitously, it fits very well with the outcomes listed in ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 2 Criterion 3 as well.

This paper will describe the first course in the lab sequence, PH345/UI330 Experimental Methods I, how it fits into the University Studies Program, and how it fits with the objectives of ABET Engineering Criteria 2000.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Probst, D. (2001, June), Advanced Laboratory As Liberal Education Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8890

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