June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.255.1 - 14.255.12
Assessment of Engineering Experimentation and Laboratory Instrumentation Abstract
The artistic science of measurement and control is normally referred to as Instrumentation. The varied attributes of physical systems are usually measured using well designed instruments. A small list may include voltage, current, resistance, inductance, capacitance, frequency, pressure, stress, strain, viscosity, flow, radiation, etc. Instruments are normally modeled as simple input-output devices. The author taught a new course in the area of Engineering Instrumentation during 2005 – 2006 and experimented with some new ideas. He also successfully designed, developed and implemented certain assignments and exercises to enhance student learning and discovery. In this course, the author attempted to move away from a teaching and learning paradigm to a discovery paradigm. This is a junior/senior level course which also includes a set of creative laboratory experiments that aim at providing hands-on experience to students. As a part of this course curriculum development, the author implemented certain assessment techniques. In this presentation the author describes how he assessed the outcomes for selected topics in this specific course. He also provides and some data he has collected and provides suggestions for further improvement.
Utilizing real-world problems as a stimulus for student learning is not at all new and has been in practice for a very long time. Problem-based learning has been defined as minds-on, hands-on, focused, experiential learning. (Wilkerson & Gijselaers, 1996). A problem-based curriculum is significantly different from the traditional discipline centered curriculum. (Woods, 1994). Instructors are considered to serve as problem solving colleagues assigned with the responsibility of promoting interest and enthusiasm for learning (Narayanan, 2005 & 2006). Instructors are also encouraged to act as cognitive coaches who can nurture an environment that can support open inquiry. (Barrows, 2000). It is important that the aims and objectives of problem-based learning are reflected in every aspect of the learning environment created. Problem-based curriculum should document accomplishments at the upper levels of Bloom's Taxonomy Triangle. (Boud & Feletti, 1991). Scholars in the area of cognitive science and educational psychology have identified four features that clearly separate a problem- based curriculum from a traditional, topic-based curriculum. (Nickerson, et. al. 1985). In this presentation, the author describes how he has utilized the four features in the course he teaches. He also presents analyses of the feedback data he has obtained and suggests guidelines for further improvement (Narayanan, 2007 & 2008).
Four Features of Learning:
Scholars have identified four features that clearly separate a problem-based curriculum from a traditional, topic-based curriculum (Narayanan, 2007 & 2008). [http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/principles/learning.html]
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