June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
22.250.1 - 22.250.12
Assessment of a Laboratory Oriented Study CurriculumUtilizing real-world problems as a stimulus for student learning is not at all new and hasbeen in practice for a very long time. Wilkerson & Gijselaers have defined Problem-basedlearning as minds-on, hands-on, focused, experiential learning. The artistic science ofmeasurement and control is normally referred to as Experimentation and Instrumentation. Thevaried attributes of physical systems are usually measured using well designed instruments. Avery short list may include the measurement of voltage, current, resistance, inductance,capacitance, frequency, pressure, stress, strain, viscosity, flow, radiation, etc. Instruments arenormally modeled as simple input-output devices. The author taught a new laboratory orientedcourse in the area of Engineering Instrumentation during 2005 – 2006 and experimented withseveral new ideas. He also successfully designed, developed and implemented certainassignments and exercises to enhance student learning and discovery. In this course, the authorattempted to move away from a teaching and learning paradigm to a discovery paradigm. Theauthor is of the opinion that instructors must be considered to serve as problem solvingcolleagues assigned with the responsibility of promoting interest and enthusiasm for learning.Instructors should also be encouraged to act as cognitive coaches who can nurture anenvironment that can support open inquiry. It is important that the aims and objectives ofproblem-based learning are reflected in every aspect of the learning environment created.Problem-based curriculum should document accomplishments at the upper levels of Bloom'sTaxonomy Triangle. Scholars in the area of cognitive science and educational psychology haveidentified four features that clearly separate a problem-based curriculum from a traditional,topic-based curriculum. In this presentation, the author describes how he has utilized the fourfeatures of problem solving in the courses he teaches. He also presents assessment data he hascollected over the years and analyzes the feedback data he has obtained and suggests guidelinesfor further improvement.
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