Asee peer logo

Experiences With A Virtual Laboratory Class In Materials Testing For Civil Engineering Technology

Download Paper |


2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.292.1 - 5.292.7

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jr., Vernon W. Lewis

Download Paper |

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

Session 1347

Experiences With A Virtual Laboratory Class In Materials Testing For Civil Engineering Technology V. W. Lewis, Jr. Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia


Old Dominion University has developed an extensive distance learning system that includes 32 remote community college sites, mostly in Virginia, and an additional 14 hospital, military and industrial sites in several states. Since the Civil Engineering Technology curriculum requires several laboratory courses, a problem exists for many distance learning students.

For example, one course of interest is a three-hour laboratory course in the testing of engineering materials. Some of the sites have equivalent laboratory courses that meet this need, but many are not equipped for this purpose. In the past, this class was held in the summer in a series of three two-day weekend sessions. This method requires the students to travel and stay overnight, and compresses a significant amount of study into a very short time, thereby compromising the students learning experience.

In the summer of 1998, the class was videotaped in the laboratory with all discussion, measurements and testing recorded. In the fall of 1998, the tapes were used successfully in a pilot class on campus with seven students. In the summer of 1999 a distance course was held attended by approximately 50 local and distance students. The success of this virtual approach to a laboratory class and the experience gained in the process are documented in this paper. The paper also includes a discussion of the logistics involved with a virtual laboratory class of significant size.

1. Introduction

The distance learning program at Old Dominion University features approximately 100 classes in the current semester that are presented in a synchronous or partially asynchronous format. Eight to ten additional courses are offered in a totally asynchronous format. The distance learning program has developed around the assumption that to be successful, complete programs must be offered rather than individual courses that may be selectively of interest to those in practice. One of the requirements of the Civil Engineering Technology program at Old Dominion University is a laboratory class in the testing of engineering materials. The students in the Mechanical Engineering program also take this course. The course includes basic materials experiments such as testing to determine the properties of steel, wood and concrete. Materials are tested in tension, compression and torsion. A major emphasis of the program is for the students to learn to execute experiments, anticipate the results and organize the information into a coherent report in a format acceptable for engineering practice.

Lewis, J. V. W. (2000, June), Experiences With A Virtual Laboratory Class In Materials Testing For Civil Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2000 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015