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Individual Data Acquisition and Experimentation in Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Laboratories

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Laboratories II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.861.1 - 22.861.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Daniel Dickrell University of Florida

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Individual Data Acquisition and Experimentation in Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering LaboratoriesUndergraduate teaching laboratories in mechanical engineering curriculum are traditionallygroup-oriented courses with activities centered on large, one-off experimental apparatus. Thepredominance of single-instanced experimental laboratories is largely due to the balancebetween having sufficient curricular diversity and the cost and maintenance constraints of labinstructors and support personnel. This work summarizes the experiences over the last two yearswhere a model of all individually-based data acquisition and experimentation laboratoryactivities was established in two separate teaching laboratory courses: mechanics of materialslaboratory and dynamic and controls systems laboratory. All students used self-owned personallaptops combined with student-owned low-cost universal serial bus data acquisition (USBDAQ) devices for interfacing with each individual experimental station. The experimentalactivities would be changed out each week but with the thread of commonality being that thesoftware programs written for the USB DAQ device from the previous week’s activity wereemployable in subsequent activities. Since data was acquired on an individual basis, individualreports recounting the laboratory procedures, results, and discussion were submitted and graded.Assessment of this approach was performed via anonymous student course evaluation surveyscomparable to previous traditional group-experimentation laboratory courses where similarsurveys were given. The potential ramifications of this model adoption on undergraduateteaching laboratories will be discussed in relation to increased student engagement anddepartmental resource allocations.

Dickrell, D. (2011, June), Individual Data Acquisition and Experimentation in Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Laboratories Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18142

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