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Being Efficient In Lab: Multi Media Tutorials For Laboratory Projects

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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

2.90.1 - 2.90.7

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Paper Authors

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Christopher G. Braun

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

Session 3532

Being Efficient in Lab: Multi-media Tutorials for Laboratory Projects

Christopher G. Braun Colorado School of Mines


One of the most time consuming teaching tasks is running a mainstream laboratory with a limited number of hardware setups. These setups can be complex and require considerable effort from both faculty and students to master. With limited setups, students attempt laboratory modules long after receiving training on the equipment. As a result, they are sometimes unable to complete the lab, even with detailed instructions, and faculty members spend extra time in re-explaining the laboratory to frustrated students. A different type of problem can occur when the setup is so complex that the real learning is replaced by a rote following of step-by-step instructions.

One example of the above type of problems that we face here at CSM is with our Electronics Prototyping Facility.1,2 Undergraduate students use this facility to construct printed circuit boards that they assemble to working systems for their electronics laboratories. Going from simulation to fabrication, students must use four (4) new software programs for schematic capture through PCB construction. Because there is only one hardware setup, students come in after lab hours to work on their designs. Often, they attempt their projects weeks or months after the initial demonstration. With the long sequence of steps and extended delay between instruction and implementation, it is no surprise that students often run into roadblocks, even with detailed instruction manuals available.

The approach we are trying here at the CSM is to use the recently available tools for authoring interactive computer-based, multi-media tutorials as an additional way to give our students the information and understanding they need, when they need it, to accomplish their laboratory projects. Although this development requires a substantial upfront investment, we are targeting situations where it promises to help both students and faculty make the best use of their time.

Braun, C. G. (1997, June), Being Efficient In Lab: Multi Media Tutorials For Laboratory Projects Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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