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Implementation and Assessment of a Virtual Reality Experiment in the Undergraduate Themo-fluids Laboratory

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Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning through Laboratory Experiences

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

25.724.1 - 25.724.20

DOI

10.18260/1-2--21481

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/21481

Download Count

148

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Paper Authors

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Sushil K. Chaturvedi Old Dominion University

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Jaewan Yoon Old Dominion University

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Rick McKenzie Old Dominion University

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Rick McKenzie is the Graduate Program Director in the new Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering (MSVE) Department and a joint faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Old Dominion University. Before coming to Old Dominion University, he spent six years in the simulation industry as a Senior Scientist. McKenzie’s research has been in medical modeling and simulation, human behavior representation, and simulation architectures often focusing on aspects of scientific visualization and virtual reality.

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Petros J. Katsioloudis Old Dominion University

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Petros Katsioloudis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of STEM Education and Professional Studies in the College of Education at Old Dominion University.

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Hector M. Garcia Old Dominion University

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Hector Garcia is the lead Senior Project Scientist at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center, in the areas of visualization, virtual environments, and virtual reality, integrating state of the art visualization systems with modeling and simulation applications. He received his master's in architecture from University of Houston in 1997. Garcia’s expertise include the use of large scale visual simulation display systems, the use of tracking devices, haptic devices, and motion bases for immersive virtual reality simulations. Garcia's research interests are in the development of virtual environments for use in the areas of training, education, and scientific visualization.

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Shuo Ren Old Dominion University

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Shuo Ren is a graduate student pursuing a master's of science degree in modeling, simulation, and visualization engineering at Old Dominion University. He received his bachelor's of science degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2010. His research interests include virtual reality, immersive learning, 3D visualization, and medical simulation. Currently, he is working on the development of 3D virtual laboratory for solid mechanics lab.

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Abstract

AbstractThe proposed paper presents results from an NSF (TUES Program) supported project for advancing thedevelopment and use of virtual reality experiments that are designed to emulate learning environmentof physical laboratories in engineering education. The motivation to pursue this project comes fromrecent advances in computer, internet communication and video technologies that have madeequipment related to these digital technologies very cheap and accessible to engineering educationcommunity, including students. One area namely the computer-based interactive and immersivevisualization has the potential for becoming a powerful teaching and learning tool in engineeringeducation. Although the literature review of virtual reality laboratories indicates that the state of art hasadvanced considerably in recent years, the past research has yet to be translated into strategies thatwould make virtual laboratories an integral part of engineering education.In the present work a physical experiment from the thermo-fluids laboratory, namely “Jet Impact force”is transformed into a 3-D virtual reality (VR) experiment using the ‘MAYA’ software (Fig 1). In order tomimic the physical experiment the 3-D virtual model of the chosen experiment is animated using thesoftware “Virtools” to create a virtual laboratory environment that is three-dimensional, interactive andimmersive. In order to facilitate student’s interaction with the virtual environment, human computerinterfaces (HCI) such as wands, data gloves and Nintendo Wii controllers have been incorporated. Twodifferent immersion levels have been created, one for desk-top virtual reality (DTVR) and another forcave virtual reality (CVR), to enable students to interact with the VR experiment in both “desk-top” aswell as “CAVE” modes of operation.The VR experiment has been embedded in the undergraduate thermo-fluids laboratory course so thatstudents can conduct pre-lab practice sessions prior to performing the corresponding physicalexperiment. By performing virtual reality experiments, students are expected to learn in more detailabout objectives, procedure and expected outcomes ahead of scheduled physical experiments.To test the efficacy of the proposed pre-lab practice session pedagogy, assessment instruments andstatistical experiment design have been developed to determine if implemented virtual realityexperiments used in the supplementation (mixed physical/virtual) mode, enhances student learningcompared to the pre-implementation setting (without supplementation through VR experiments). Toimplement the experimental design three sections of thermo-fluids lab (ME 305) course were targeted.In one section, the entire class was designated as the “Control” group and students in the other twosections were designated as “treatment” groups T1 and T2. Student in the “Control” group prepared forthe physical experiment in the conventional manner, namely by reviewing the lab book. Students in the“treatment” group T1 used the lab book and the desk-top virtual reality (DVR) version of the experimentto prepare for the physical experiment. Students in the “treatment” group T2 used the lab book as wellas the “CAVE” Virtual Reality (CVR) version of the experiment to prepare for the physical experiment.Assessment has been done at three levels namely through a quiz, direct observation and survey ofstudent opinions. Assessment results will be presented in the full paper.Fig 1: Physical set-up and the 3-D virtual experiment.

Chaturvedi, S. K., & Yoon, J., & McKenzie, R., & Katsioloudis, P. J., & Garcia, H. M., & Ren, S. (2012, June), Implementation and Assessment of a Virtual Reality Experiment in the Undergraduate Themo-fluids Laboratory Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21481

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