June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.826.1 - 12.826.13
IMPACT OF NEW FACILITIES ON ENGINEERING STUDENT OUTCOMES
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) has established a reputation for providing undergraduate students with a curriculum which has a strong emphasis on application based learning. In an effort to improve this learning environment, the campus has recently added a 20,000 square foot Aerospace Experimentation and Fabrication (AXFAB) building dedicated to providing undergraduate students with a premier laboratory facility. The building was designed using faculty input to ensure that it best meets the needs of the courses with experimentation content. As the name implies, the building not only includes laboratories, but also a fabrication suite which students use to construct test articles that form the basis for their experiments. Within this framework, the building is equipped with state-of-the-art tooling and laboratory apparatus, thereby creating a modern environment similar to what would be found in industry.
This paper discusses the impact the improved facilities have had on student outcomes as defined for various laboratory and design based courses, and how these correspond to the outcomes defined by ABET. The intentional design of the building to create a spacious environment which allows students to work safely with industry standard equipment is recounted. The impact on student learning in each of the laboratory courses which make use of the facility is defined both qualitatively and quantitatively. A special emphasis is placed on the impact on student learning in the senior capstone courses, which involve the fabrication and testing of aerospace systems and assemblies, and the improvement in timely instruction as the students transition to the workplace. Also discussed is the improved ability for faculty to perform undergraduate research and improve the learning environment outside of the traditional classroom setting. The paper concludes with a summary of the overall improvement in the undergraduate learning environment and proposed curriculum improvements which are directly tied to new facility.
The following sections provide insight into the improvement in ERAU student outcomes resulting from the addition of new facilities resident in the AXFAB building. These outcomes are defined by the College of Engineering in accordance with ABET a-k criteria1. The particular outcome which is most directly impacted by the new facilities states: “All engineering students will be laboratory and computer proficient with modern equipment and current laboratory and computer methods.” 2 The impact on student outcomes for individual courses will be discussed on a course-by-course basis.
The paper begins with an overview of the AXFAB facility, which provides the chronological sequence of events that led to the realization of the new building. This section also describes how the building design was driven by faculty needs for experimentation-based courses. The subsequent sections provide a course-by-course review recounting the impact of the new facility on the courses where it has had the most influence. The paper concludes with a summary of how the facility has impacted the students’ ability to mesh theory, computation, and experimentation
Helbling, J., & Lanning, D., & Madler, R., & Marriott, D., & Siebold, K. (2007, June), Impact Of New Facilities On Engineering Student Outcomes Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2945
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