April 23, 2021
April 23, 2021
April 25, 2021
2021 American Society for Engineering Education Pacific Southwest (ASEE PSW) Conference
Paper title: Instructing Lab Courses Virtually
Hands-on learning has always been essential in Cal Poly Pomona’s educational culture. Most engineering lectures are accompanied with lab courses. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forces almost all the labs to be taught using the virtual mode. Accessing on-campus facilities and working with classmates seems no longer possible for engineering students. Worse yet, the transition happened in such a short period of time that overwhelmed both the students and the faculty members.
The challenge is to move lab courses quickly online and still meet the learning objectives. The tasks for the faculty members teaching labs including finding the right resources, delivering simple and clear instructions, and creating labs that can be performed without a teacher being physically present. Three examples are described in this paper demonstrating our approaches and strategies in dealing with the difficulties.
The first example shows how to transit the labs using online simulation tools such as PSpice and LTSpice. This allows students to conduct the labs remotely. Online simulations provide adequate learning environments for students to explore concepts, and collect/store/transmit data. Moreover, students can verify their predictions without purchasing anything beyond access to the website. This experience shows that proper online simulations resources can provide a robust alternative to in-person labs.
The students in the other two labs were already using their own equipment prior to the pandemic lockdown. In particular, the computer network lab uses Arduino Raspberry Pi, or some other microcontrollers with radio frequency (RF) wireless capabilities. The digital circuit design lab uses Xilinx FPGA board. For these labs, conducting labs can be done individually and remotely. Labs demonstrations can be recorded and posted online through video-sharing platform such as Youtube. With the Video conference application such as Zoom, the labs instructions are conducted in real time and students adapt to the transition smoothly.
Yu, Z., & Yin, M., & Lin, T. (2021, April), Instructing Lab Courses Virtually Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference - "Pushing Past Pandemic Pedagogy: Learning from Disruption", Virtual. https://peer.asee.org/38237
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