June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Educational Research and Methods
12.904.1 - 12.904.18
Instructional Design and Evaluation of a Virtual Lab in NanoElectronics Processing
Engineering curricula require effective ways to integrate experimental design into courses and student learning experiences. To address this need, we have developed a virtual laboratory that provides students a capstone experience in which they can apply experimental design in a context similar to that of a practicing engineer in industry. The Virtual CVD laboratory is based on numerical simulation of an industrial-scaled chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process, an important unit operation in the manufacture of nanoelectronic devices. The simulation of the reactor is based on fundamental principles of mass transfer and chemical reaction, obscured by added “noise.” The students specify nine process parameters to perform a “run”; the film thicknesses are then provided to students only at the select wafer locations that they have decided to measure. The software application contains a 3D graphical student interface that simulates a cleanroom environment, a web-based instructor interface with integrated assessment tools, and a database server complete with calculation engine. In this paper, the instructional design and the evaluation of the Virtual CVD laboratory are presented.
Data were collected from the Fall 2006 implementation of the Virtual CVD laboratory in the integrated capstone senior laboratory course. The cornerstone of the data collection utilized the “think-aloud” technique. Twenty groups were assigned the project and three of those groups participated in the “think-aloud.” The qualitative method entailed a detailed task analysis for each group from which a task map was developed. Corresponding ratings for the quality of each major task and the group’s tolerance for ambiguity during each session were assigned. A qualitative analysis of the impact that social interactions had on key decision points was completed and the use of reflection tools was evaluated. Of the three groups, the highest performing group demonstrated high quality ratings in each of the major experimental tasks: design, analysis and conclusions. They also exhibited an increasing tolerance for ambiguity as the project evolved and demonstrated effective social interactions, breaking into well defined roles. The contrasting performance of the other two groups is also discussed. The use of reflection tools in the form of experimental journals and design meetings appeared to be effective in keeping students from “video-game” mode. Assessment based improvements of the Virtual CVD laboratory are identified.
Capstone courses in which students have an opportunity to practice engineering are an important aspect of undergraduate engineering curriculum. In the last 20 years, capstone courses have been integrated into engineering curricula nationwide in response to ABET accreditation requirements and feedback from industry. Specific ABET guidelines are the building blocks for the development of many capstone courses; these guidelines focus on the practice of engineering and include requirements for communication, teamwork, creativity, the synthesis of core engineering concepts applied to an open-ended project, incorporation of economic considerations, and inclusion of relevant health, safety, and ethical issues.1 Industrial needs have also shaped the
Amatore, D., & Gummer, E., & Koretsky, M. (2007, June), Instructional Design And Evaluation Of A Virtual Laboratory In Nanoelectronics Processing Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2709
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