Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies
The types of learning activities that are accepted as constituting a legitimate laboratory experience have expanded considerably over the past decade or so. Traditionally, laboratory instruction was taken to involve hands-on activities around measuring quantitative, technical data associated with some physical phenomenon or the performance of an engineered artefact. More recently virtual laboratories based on computer simulation and remote labs where physical or virtual equipment is accessed at a distance using the internet have become accepted under the umbrella of “laboratory”. The proposed new ABET Criteria 3 (Student Outcomes) has broadened somewhat in respect of experimentation, thereby presenting an opportunity for discussion around laboratory contexts.
This paper argues we should adopt a more expansive understanding of what counts as a “laboratory”; one that recognizes the reality that practicing engineers must be adept at creating and conducting investigations that take into account not only technical factors but also the socio-cultural, economic and even ethical aspects and impacts of an engineering project. This might include gathering data of many types; technical and non-technical, qualitative and quantitative, captured and analyzed in a variety of media. Interpreting, making sense of, and development of inferences from such diverse data sets is a developmental extension of the skills acquired by a student in a traditional, technical laboratory setting. As such, what might be termed “socio-technical” laboratory experiences add to, rather than replace, laboratory instruction as we have known it. This paper focuses on one ubiquitous form of engineering experimentation with socio-technical dimensions, i.e. fieldwork. It uses a case study based on a novel Study Abroad program to illustrate the design and implementation of a socio-technical laboratory, one that emulates an experience of global engineering fieldwork.
Radcliffe, D. F., & Pilotte, M. K. (2018, June), Field Investigations: An Overlooked Form of Laboratory Experience Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30516
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