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Development Of Software To Improve Learning And Laboratory Experience In Materials Science

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Computers in ME

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.431.1 - 8.431.8



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Paper Authors

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Kathy Stalcup

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Javad Hashemi

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Edward Anderson

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

Session 3566

Development of Software to Improve Learning and Laboratory Experience in Materials Science

Javad Hashemi, Katherine A. Stalcup, Edward E. Anderson, and Adam Majkowski

Texas Tech University, Department of Mechanical Engineering/ Texas Tech University, Teaching Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) Texas Tech University Department of Psychology/ Texas Tech University, Teaching Learning and Technology Center (TLTC)/ Texas Tech University, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Abstract The laboratory experience is a major component of any engineering program. The laboratory course is used to give students hands-on experience in verifying some of the major theoretical or physical concepts that they have used throughout their student careers. The knowledge gained in a laboratory courses usually leaves a lasting impression on students as related to experiential learning concepts. However, from a practical point of view, there are many factors that could hinder the effectiveness of the laboratory experience. Some of these factors are i) lack of familiarity of many students with procedure, ii) equipment availability and procedure, and iii) lack of experience with objectives and the expected outcome of the experiment. The purpose of this paper is to present the use of an interactive virtual laboratory experience that could provide a road map to the procedure, objectives, and expected outcome of an actual experiment. All normal laboratory functions such as following procedures, using equipment, making measurements, and performing analysis of data are performed in a virtual environment. Features such as a decision tree are built into the software to allow the student to make decisions (correct and incorrect ones) and observe the result of their decisions. The important features and the pedagogical techniques used in the developed software are presented. Initial response of the students exposed to this software, which has been positive, is also presented.

Introduction The laboratory experience represents one of the few hands-on experiences in engineering education. This experience serves to reinforce theoretical concepts discussed in engineering courses and provides an experiential learning process. In order to have an effective laboratory experience, extensive personnel time must be used to assure a well organized experience with detailed procedures, and updated equipment. Often, even after extensive investment of time and resources by the university, the actual student experiences in these laboratory courses may not be positive ones. Generally, students express that some of the deficiencies of a laboratory “Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Stalcup, K., & Hashemi, J., & Anderson, E. (2003, June), Development Of Software To Improve Learning And Laboratory Experience In Materials Science Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11693

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