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Expanding The Undergraduate Laboratory Experience Using Web Technology

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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

6.482.1 - 6.482.13



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Paper Authors

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Dennis Hromin

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Sven Esche

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Stevens Institute of Technology is currently implementing a new undergraduate engineering curriculum. This curriculum reflects the recent nationwide trend towards enhancement of traditional lecture-based courses with a design spine and a laboratory experience that propagates through the entire educational program. In the course of the curriculum development, it was recognized that the incorporation of design and laboratory components into all engineering courses places a significant strain on the spatial, temporal and fiscal resources of the institute. In order to accommodate the anticipated student enrollment, creative concepts for the implementation of affordable integrated experimental and design laboratories have to be developed. Without compromising the intended educational objectives, these laboratories must allow for the required student throughput using the limited existing laboratory space. This paper presents the recent development and implementation of a student laboratory approach that is founded on Internet-based, remotely accessible experimental setups. In this approach, the students’ experimental experience is greatly expanded by allowing them to not only use the experimental facilities in the traditional on-sight fashion but also to remotely access the computer controlled laboratory setup of interest through the Internet. In addition to the facilitation of asynchronous student learning patterns, this approach also enables instructors to include demonstrations of sophisticated laboratory experiments into their lectures. As is discussed in detail in this paper, the main benefits of the laboratory implementation discussed are the exposure of a potentially large student body to adequate experimental experiences, the promotion self- learning of the students, and the significant alleviation of strain on laboratory class schedules. In addition to making the laboratories available to students at any time from anywhere, this approach also serves as the basis for the affordable integration of laboratory experiences into the lecture environment. A laboratory sequence that accompanies a sophomore-level course on dynamical systems was recently augmented by this approach. This paper focuses on the integration of remote experimentation into the undergraduate learning environment and analyzes the advantages and shortcomings of such remote laboratories. The cross-fertilization between abstract physical concepts and experimental validation achieved through the integration of lecture and laboratory material is highlighted using the experimental setup of a mechanical vibration system.

Hromin, D., & Esche, S. (2001, June), Expanding The Undergraduate Laboratory Experience Using Web Technology Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9252

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