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An Innovative Integrated Learning Laboratory Environment

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.68.1 - 2.68.5



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Paper Authors

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Ajay Mahajan

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David McDonald

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

Session 1559

An Innovative Integrated Learning Laboratory Environment

Ajay Mahajan and David McDonald Lake Superior State University


The current paradigm in engineering course instruction builds on a lecture prerequisite structure but ignores the need for a laboratory prerequisite structure. Educational quality is therefore diminished as instructors optimize specific laboratories but fail to optimize the overall program laboratory experience. This paper presents a learning environment that forces students to use not only concepts and skills but also actual data and models from lower division laboratories in upper division laboratories. The integration occurs because students must utilize their previous laboratory work as a reference as they study the different facets of the same experimental set-ups in multiple engineering laboratories. The students learn to appreciate the integrated nature of modern systems since they get to use the same set-ups in multiple courses. There are other indirect advantages of this approach in terms of financial economy and faculty professional development.

Introduction For almost thirty years LSSU offered quality programs in engineering technology. In 1994, based on the input from alumni, employers of graduates, and members of the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), a decision was made to switch from engineering technology to engineering. In 1996, after a two year process, the School offered Mechanical and Electrical Engineering degrees in place of the old technology degrees. A comprehensive transition plan was developed for students who were enrolled for technology degrees and wanted to obtain the new degrees in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering. The School was renamed the School of Engineering and Mathematics. The Technology Programs have always been TAC/ABET accredited, and the School is now aiming for EAC/ABET accreditation for its new engineering programs in the year 2000 under the new EAC Criterion 2000.

With the transition to engineering programs the School is trying to expand its horizons and explore new directions. One of these directions is the development of an applied research program, and it has lead to the development of a new facility called the Autonomous Systems Laboratory (ASL) that serves as a center for research and innovative curriculum development [1]. A second direction is the proposed development of a new laboratory called the Integrated Systems Engineering Laboratory (ISEL) that emphasizes the vertical integration of knowledge by forming a pre-requisite structure in laboratory work that spans across multiple courses. It will be shown that this new laboratory will cause a paradigm shift in student learning by moving from an isolated learning environment to an integrated learning environment.

Mahajan, A., & McDonald, D. (1997, June), An Innovative Integrated Learning Laboratory Environment Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6619

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