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Engineering Education Procedures Based On Computer Simulation Resources As An Alternative For Laboratory Facilities

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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

6.430.1 - 6.430.4

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Rodolfo Molinari

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

Session 1690

Engineering Education Procedures Based on Compute Simulation Resources as an Alternative for Laboratory Facilities

Rodolfo Molinari Centro Universitario Lusiada, Santos, Brazil


When teaching the majority of the disciplines of an Engineering Course, of any specialty, it is of fundamental importance that theory classes could be connected to experimentation, in order to give to the students the necessary perception of the actual applicability of any new knowledge. In developing countries it is nearly an utopia to try the application of the full experimental teaching methodology, in face of the high costs of laboratory facilities that only a few Schools of Engi- neering can afford. As a consequence, a significant number of professionals are not really pre- pared after finishing their courses, demanding a long time of training after graduation and, fre- quently, a personal deception with the career. It is in this scenario that the availability of compu- tational resources adapted for mathematical simulation appears as a methodological alternative to experimental classes, with the creation of virtual laboratories that imply in a very significant re- duction in costs.


With the accelerated development of computers technology verified especially in the last decade of 20th century and with the Internet great popularization and vertiginous growth, it was opened an enormous range of possibilities for the change of methods in the teaching process. This fact has special relevance for the neediest countries in financial resources, where one of the main limiting factors for the expansion and qualification of college level courses is the laboratory facilities high costs, being this particularly significant in the Engineering courses cases, where the experimental practice is fundamental for student’s professional development.

The computer was going adopted as a virtual experimental teaching tool in the secondary level for some time already, for the teaching of physics, chemistry and biology mostly and, in this context, the INTERNET has shown to be a powerful diffusion vehicle of these programs and (1) of this methodology, being replete of web pages about the variedest matters, with virtual ex- perimental exercises very detailed . This ones applications, however, have a common and im- portant characteristic : the necessary hardware and software resources are relatively simple and a lot accessible and, perhaps, this is the only reason to be so spread. Few doubts on the validity and benefits of these application for the learning acceleration nowadays remain.

The higher education, especially Engineering, has differentiated characteristics that make more restricted and specific the development of applications aiming at substitution or comple- mentation of experimental laboratory classes . Without a doubt, the most obvious inquiry is the

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ( ) 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Molinari, R. (2001, June), Engineering Education Procedures Based On Computer Simulation Resources As An Alternative For Laboratory Facilities Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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