June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.852.1 - 12.852.12
Improving Engineering Laboratory Experience Through Computer Simulations and Cooperative Learning
Engineering laboratory experience has been widely recognized as valuable for students to develop a solid understanding of a variety of important engineering concepts taught in classroom lectures, especially those involving manufacturing engineering and technology. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) requires that graduates of manufacturing programs must receive and demonstrate proficiency in laboratory experiences. Specifically, ABET 2000 states, “graduates must be able to measure manufacturing process variables in a manufacturing laboratory and make technical inferences about the process.”
This paper presents a new pedagogical model that we recently developed from our teaching practice. In this model, real-world laboratory experiments and computer simulations are integrated with each other. It is described in detail how the new model works, using an example of student laboratory assignments and results. The paper also presents a modified-jigsaw cooperative-learning approach that we developed and that is proven particularly useful when dealing with large classes. There exists a long-standing misconception that laboratory experiences become impractical as class sizes grow in numbers. Our modified-jigsaw approach requires the instructor to meet with only a portion (one-fourth in our case) of the class, making a laboratory experience manageable even as class enrollments reach 100 or more students. The paper describes the logistics of the modified-jigsaw approach along with a specific example of student laboratory assignments. Our new pedagogical model and modified-jigsaw approach make a positive difference in the way students gain fundamental understanding of engineering concepts and applications.
Developing innovative and effective instructional strategies to improve engineering and technology education has long been an important issue of research and practice 1-4. Researchers and educators in our engineering and technology education community have made a tremendous amount of effort over the past decades to address this issue and have developed a wide variety of pedagogical models and approaches, such as multimedia and web-assisted lectures 5-6, real-time visualization 7, comprehensive and high-quality course design 8, and cooperative learning 9,10.
Among these existing instructional strategies, engineering laboratory experience has been widely recognized as an effective pedagogical practice that plays a significant role in developing and reinforcing students’ understanding of a variety of important engineering concepts taught in classroom lectures 11-14. Engineering laboratory experience has been integrated into such methods as active learning, cooperative learning, project-based learning, problem-based learning, and research-based learning in various engineering disciplines.
Engineering laboratory experience has been particularly emphasized when it comes to the teaching of manufacturing engineering and technology courses that involves numerous real-
Fang, N., & Stewardson, G. (2007, June), Improving Engineering Laboratory Experience Through Computer Simulations And Cooperative Learning Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1762
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