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Computer Aided Physical Experimentation For Instrumentation And Measurements Classes In An Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Program

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

DELOS Best Paper Nominations

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.353.1 - 14.353.18



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Paper Authors

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Jerry Keska University of Louisiana, Lafayette

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

Session XXX

Computer-Aided Physical Experimentation for Instrumentation and Measurements Classes in an Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Program

Jerry K. Keska Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisiana Lafayette, LA 70506

Abstract The goal of this unique laboratory approach was to increase student interest in the subject, to increase the students’ learning efficiency, and to allow the students to apply their own creativity and hands-on problem solving skills. This approach, which uses unique experiments and open- ended projects, gives students the opportunity to stretch their creative limits by formulating and investigating realistic, inventive, and complex problems. This approach not only increases student’s enthusiasm, but it is also more closely aligns classroom topics with contemporary standard industrial environments. Furthermore, it lowers the cost of laboratory instruction by minimizing the amount of hardware that is used.

This paper reports the results of the development and implementation of hands-on laboratory experiments in a newly developed laboratory for a two-semester undergraduate course in Instrumentation and Measurements in Mechanical Engineering. The course, designed for the undergraduate junior level, was a two-semester course for a total of four credits, and it took place in conjunction with a one-hour classroom lecture in mechanical engineering. A modified version of this approach, however, can easily be used at all levels of the mechanical engineering curriculum. An important component to the process involves the utilization of a two-semester long, open-ended project (OEP) that required the students to come up with creative approaches to problem solving. Over the course of the year, a full-cycle learning experience took place. After acquiring the necessary minimum knowledge, the students began their OEP by developing an initial idea. They then went on to design and construct a working prototype (that included both system and measurement sensors on prototyping boards), and concluded the project by conducting a feasibility study by writing a report and delivering a class presentation. Because the ELVIS system has been used primarily as an instructional tool in electrical engineering laboratories, an extensive process that adapted it to the needs of mechanical engineering was implemented. This included the development of completely new experiments that involved newly-designed hardware and instructions that were all developed and built in-house with student participation.

Introduction In the undergraduate teaching process, both instructors and students often get bored solving simple textbook problems that have limited connections to the real world and require little, if any, imaginative thinking to solve. To increase student interest, creativity, hands-on experience, and

Keska, J. (2009, June), Computer Aided Physical Experimentation For Instrumentation And Measurements Classes In An Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Program Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5844

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