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Improving Mechanics Student And Instructor Satisfaction Through Online Laboratory Report Submission

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Innovative Hands-On Projects and Labs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.671.1 - 8.671.15

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Paper Authors

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Kyle D. Lutes

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William Szaroletta

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

Session 1368 Improving Mechanics Student and Instructor Satisfaction Through On-Line Laboratory Report Submission

William K. Szaroletta, Kyle D. Lutes Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Abstract: On-Line laboratory report submission has drastically improved both student and faculty satisfaction in a mechanics course. Prior to this implementation, students needed to submit printed copies of their reports resulting in incurred cost to the student and bulky stacks of reports to be handled by the instructor.

This paper compares and contrasts two mechanisms for electronically submitting laboratory reports. In addition, this paper shows how the best of both worlds was obtained by integrating eSub™ directly into WebCT™. Student out-of-pockets costs have gone down as has instructor grading time; a tremendous benefit to both user groups.

Introduction: A lower division, four credit hour mechanics class is divided into three one-hour lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week, with credit being allocated at 75% for lecture and 25% for laboratory. The laboratory portion has traditionally required printed laboratory reports be submitted on mostly a weekly basis. These reports utilize standard suites of software extensively, including MS Word™, MS Excel™, and MS PowerPoint™. Digital images and screen captures from laboratory automation software drastically increase the size of these reports, which average 7MB and 20 formatted pages per report per student. Over the course of a semester, the student will often utilize their own printer to produce these reports or risk missing a deadline due to long queues at the various university computing laboratories with color printers. This direct student cost can exceed $200 over the course of a semester and has become a source of some student discontent. Laboratory data distribution to various team members has also been problematic.

Recent implementation of WebCT™ has directly improved the student satisfaction with respect to laboratory report submissions and laboratory raw data dissemination. Directly from laboratory computers, students are able to upload their experimental data directly to their team’s WebCT directory, which is accessible only by that team’s members. Following individual (and sometimes team) report writing, the reports are uploaded directly to their individual account in the course’s WebCT directory. The immediate effects of implementing this form of data dissemination and laboratory report submission has been to improve student access to laboratory data after laboratory is complete and to improve the time from report completion to report submission, saving student funds. This paper will describe the experiences with these two course enhancements, both positive and negative and describe a plan to compare and contrast the electronic submission capabilities of two software packages: WebCT™ 4 and eSub™ 2.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Lutes, K. D., & Szaroletta, W. (2003, June), Improving Mechanics Student And Instructor Satisfaction Through Online Laboratory Report Submission Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015