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Instructional Design And Evaluation Of A Virtual Laboratory In Nanoelectronics Processing

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

ERM Potpourri I

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.904.1 - 12.904.18



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Paper Authors


Danielle Amatore Oregon State University

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Danielle Amatore, a PhD candidate in chemical engineering at Oregon State University, has a research focus on engineering education, with a special interest in applying qualitative research to assess learning in the engineering classroom. In addition, she has developed curriculum built on active learning for nanoelectronics at the graduate and undergraduate levels, as well as for K12 level. She obtained experience in the semiconductor industry while working at Intel and LSI Logic.

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Edith Gummer Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

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Edith Gummer is the Director of the Classroom-Focused Research and Evaluation Program for the Center for Classroom Teaching and Learning at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. She coordinated the structure of the research design and the data collection and analysis processes of the project. She has been faculty in science and mathematics education quantitative and qualitative research design courses at the doctoral level. She has been involved in the development of innovative mathematics curricular activities and formative assessment in mathematics problem solving.

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Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He currently has research activity in areas related to thin film materials processing and engineering education. He is author of the text Engineering and Chemical Thermodynamics, which includes an integrated, menu driven computer program ThermoSolver. He is interested in integrating technology into effective education practices and in promoting the use of higher level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. Dr. Koretsky is a six-time Intel Faculty Fellow and has won awards for his work in engineering education at the university and national levels.

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

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. 10.18260/1-2--2709

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