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Development, Assessment and Evaluation of Remote Thermo-fluids Laboratory Experiments: Results from a Pilot Study

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

ME Laboratories and Undergraduate Research

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.431.1 - 24.431.12



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Paper Authors


Sriram Sundararajan Iowa State University

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Sriram Sundararajan is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University and also currently serves as the Associate Chair for Operations. His research areas encompass multiscale tribology (friction, lubrication and wear), surface engineering and mechanical engineering education. He has authored over 65 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and two invited book chapters. He serves on the steering committee for the International Conference on Wear of Materials and on the Mechanical executive committee of the Mechanical Engineering Division of ASEE. He also serves as an ABET program evaluator on behalf of ASME. Prof. Sundararajan has been recognized for his accomplishments with the Young Engineering Faculty Research Award and Early Achievement in Teaching Award at Iowa State University. He received his B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (India) followed by M.S. and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

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James Dautremont

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Development, assessment and evaluation of remote thermo-fluids laboratory experiments: Results from a pilot studyAbstractAn integral part of a mechanical engineering and other engineering programs are laboratoryexperiences. While the benefits of hands-on laboratories are in providing environments forstudents to apply theoretical knowledge, the changing landscape of engineering education todayis spurring consideration of alternate means of offering laboratory-based education. Oneapproach is that of developing remote or online laboratory experiences, which is particularlyattractive for our mechanical engineering program at XYZ University in the following ways: 1)They can help address capacity issues caused by increasing enrollments; 2) They can facilitateonline learning opportunities for off-campus students, including the increasing number ofstudents pursuing internship and co-op opportunities, thus enabling offering to new students andpotentially minimizing time to degree for in-program students. Offering lab activities onlinedemands modification of current laboratory systems or the creation of new systems. In additionany laboratory experience that is thus delivered must be assessed for its impact on studentlearning in comparison with the traditional experience. Consequently we have endeavored topilot selected laboratory experiences in our undergraduate engineering: two laboratory exercisesin the Fluids course covering pumps and linear momentum concepts and one exercise in the HeatTransfer course covering steady state conduction and extended surfaces. In each case, acomputer-based remote access was established to view and control the experimental apparatuses,thus providing students with a mechanism to conduct the experiments in a remote (online)environment. For each laboratory, about 50% of the class conducted the lab in the traditional in-class format while the other 50% conducted the exercises in the ‘remote’ mode. Assessment ofstudent learning included student self-assessment of understanding of concepts (throughsurveys), feedback on the actual experience itself and direct assessment of their understandingthrough lab report scores as measured by teaching assistants. The results for the fluidslaboratories showed that there was no significant difference in the learning of the students.Results for the heat transfer laboratories are being compiled currently. The pilot study suggeststhat some laboratory experiences can be successfully ported to a remote or online mode withoutsacrificing the student learning experience. Issues and challenges associated with the design anddelivery of the system will also be discussed.  

Sundararajan, S., & Dautremont, J. (2014, June), Development, Assessment and Evaluation of Remote Thermo-fluids Laboratory Experiments: Results from a Pilot Study Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20322

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