June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
14.259.1 - 14.259.11
Assessment of Remote“Optical Circuits” Laboratory using Embedded Measurement Techniques
1 Abstract This paper presents the result of a embedded assessment technique used to evaluate student learn- ing outcome of online laboratories in an optical circuits course. The laboratories are remotely controlled experiments using actual optical equipment controlled using labview. Students conduct the experiments remotely and collect real data. The labs are conducted in three steps. First, the student views a video presentation that explains the overall experiment, how it is set up and how to read and collect the data. Second, each student performs a simulation to enforce the concepts. Fi- nally, each student runs the experiment, collects the data and writes the report. Each set of report questions includes calibrated questions that are used to perform formative learning assessment.
2 Introduction The laboratory experience is considered fundamental in the teaching of science and engineering. Both cost and the need to accommodate oﬀ campus students have spurred the use of online educa- tion. There is no present consensus on the value of the learning experience provided by the online laboratory as opposed to the hands-on in class laboratory or the pure online simulation laboratory. A prime reason for the lack of consensus is that diﬀerent learning outcomes have been assumed as the goal in the assessments carried out for the diﬀerent laboratory presentation methods. There are a number of ways to measure (or assess) the knowledge and/or understanding a student ac- quires through laboratory experiences. For example, summative assessment involves documenting the measure of learning at the end of a course, whereas formative assessment involves measurement throughout the course, which thereby provides feedback as a means to adjust the learning experi- ence of the student. Elements of assessment can also be embedded within the evaluative material and thereby integrated into examinations and homework. We developed set of remotely controlled laboratories covering optical circuits concepts. The laboratories are currently implemented in the Engineering Technology Department at the University of Houston in an upper division undergraduate course, The experiments have also been used at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Formative assessment provides numerous beneﬁts to measure student learning outcome. Other researchers have explored the use of formative assessment to guide online learning. To the best of our knowledge, embedded formative techniques have not been previously used in online laboratories. This paper will present results of embedded assessment techniques conducted in this course. A major component of our work will be outcome assessment and the continuous improvement model that will be used to adapt online laboratories to provide an eﬀective hands-on experience to the students in online setting.
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