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Converting Traditional Engineering Physics Laboratories into Self-Designed Student Explorations

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 5B: Work-In-Progress: 5 Minute Postcard Session II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Amy Biegalski P.E. University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Dr. Biegalski is a lecturer in the Engineering Fundamentals Program at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the CASE School of Engineering. She worked as a consulting structural engineer before joining UT. Her research interests include engineering fundamentals courses and project based learning;

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Kevin Kit University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Kevin Kit is Director of the Engineering Honors Program and Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He received a B.S. in Materials Engineering from Virginia Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Delaware. He currently teaches Honors Physics for Engineers for first-year students and Honors Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering. His engineering education interests include first-year engineering courses and the effect of intrinsic motivation on student success.

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Rachel McCord Ellestad University of Tennessee, Knoxville Orcid 16x16

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Rachel McCord is a a Lecturer in the Engineering Fundamentals Division at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests include the impact of metacognitive and self-regulated learning development on engineering student success, particularly in the first year.

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Converting Traditional Engineering Physics Laboratories into Self-Designed Student Explorations

This work in progress describes the initiative to redesign traditional first year engineering laboratories into self-designed learning experiences for several topics throughout the semester. In the traditional laboratories students followed an explicit set of procedures to solve an engineering problem. In the redesigned lab, teams of students are presented with a design challenge related to that week’s lecture curriculum, supplied with applicable equipment and technology, and advised to self-design their own experiments and investigations. Learning objectives and background information are provided and students have instructor support for guidance and direction during their experimentation and analysis. The redesigned laboratories endeavor to build skills that address the modern needs of the engineering industry, self-designed learning and innovation, and aim to increase student comprehension and interest.

Biegalski, A., & Kit, K., & Ellestad, R. M. (2016, June), Converting Traditional Engineering Physics Laboratories into Self-Designed Student Explorations Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26589

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