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Computer Interfaced Teaching Laboratory For Science And Engineering Majors

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.288.1 - 6.288.11

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Thankappan Pillai

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

Session 1526

Computer Interfaced Teaching Laboratory for Science and Engineering Majors

Thankappan A.K. Pillai University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, La Crosse, WI 54601

1. Introduction

This paper describes a Workshop Physics style laboratory for first year Physics- Engineering Dual Degree majors at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (UWL) 1. With the support of an NSF grant2, we have established a computer interfaced physics laboratory to go along with the calculus based introductory physics course. This course uses networked Microcomputer Based Laboratories (MBL)3 to acquire and analyze experimental data. The laboratories are done very much in the Workshop Physics4,5 style, although the formal lecture sessions are kept as well. We completed the first offering of this laboratory (PHY 203 General Physics I ) in the Fall of 1999, and the student responses have been tremendous and retention rates have been increasing. The first offering of the second semester of the laboratory (PHY 204 General Physics II) was also very successful. The student comments were very positive, and 98% of the students strongly recommended to continue the laboratory format for future students.

We at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse have established a Physics-Engineering Dual Degree Program6 with University of Wisconsin at Madison and Milwaukee campuses, as well as with the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota. Under this program, the students will spend their first three years at our campus (University of Wisconsin - La Crosse); then they will be accepted into any of the Engineering Programs at the other campuses. At the end of the five year study program, they will graduate with two degrees, a B.S. degree in Physics from our university(UWL), and a B.S. degree in Engineering from one of the other Universities. The program has been very successful, and attracts a large number of students. Enrollments in this program are increasing. We currently have about 100 dual degree majors. One of the main courses that these entering dual degree majors take during their first year of study is the two semesters of calculus physics, General Physcis I and General Physics II. These laboratories are developed to meet the growing interest of these dual degree Physics/Engineering majors. A majority of these students have already decided to Proceedings of the 2001 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Pillai, T. (2001, June), Computer Interfaced Teaching Laboratory For Science And Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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