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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Hands On Learning Using Lab Stations

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.192.1 - 2.192.6



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Paper Authors

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Walter S. Lund

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Trudy L. Schwartz

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Lee D. Peterson

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Lawrence E. Carlson

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

Session 2659

Facilitating Interdisciplinary Hands-on Learning using LabStations

Lawrence E. Carlson, Lee D. Peterson, Walter S. Lund & Trudy L. Schwartz Integrated Teaching and Learning Program College of Engineering and Applied Science University of Colorado at Boulder

Abstract Culminating five years of planning by faculty and students, the Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) Laboratory opened its doors in January 1997. One of the goals of the new facility is to link theory and experimentation in a hands-on way. Custom designed LabStations facilitate this goal with the capability to easily take quantitative measurements from an experiment and store them electronically for analysis. This paper presents the details of LabStation design and describes some of the portable experimental modules that will utilize the LabStations.

Integrated Teaching and Learning Overview The College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder is making a significant shift in the way undergraduate engineering students are educated. Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) is an interdisciplinary program that integrates team-oriented, hands-on learning experiences throughout the engineering curriculum and engages students in the design process beginning with their first year. ITL is horizontally integrated across all six engineering departments and vertically integrated through all four years. The program combines leading-edge computer and instrumentation technology with the knowledge and confidence that comes with hands-on, project-based learning.

The cornerstone of this new program is the 34,400 sq. ft. ITL Laboratory, which opened its doors in January 1997. The laboratory’s curriculum-driven design accommodates a variety of learning styles and features two first-year design studios, an active-learning arena for 70 students, a computer simulation laboratory, a computer network integrating all the experimental equipment throughout two large, open laboratory plazas, capstone design studios, group work areas and student shops. The building itself is even an interactive teaching tool that gives students the capability to demonstrate, monitor and manipulate the facility’s many complex engineering systems (Carlson and Brandemuehl, 1997).

Interdisciplinary Curriculum Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of ITL, planning for the new curriculum has crossed traditional departmental boundaries. The initial impact on students is First Year Engineering Projects, a College-wide course that introduces beginning students to the excitement of engineering and to the practical considerations of the design process (Carlson et. al., 1995, Piket-May et. al., 1995). Students design, build and test real products with real customers, such as an assistive glove that a quadriplegic student uses to grasp a soda can. At the other end of the curriculum, senior-level capstone design projects

Lund, W. S., & Schwartz, T. L., & Peterson, L. D., & Carlson, L. E. (1997, June), Facilitating Interdisciplinary Hands On Learning Using Lab Stations Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6564

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