Asee peer logo

Instrumentation Based Mobile Laboratories For An Electromechanical Engineering Technology Distance Education Program

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

New Instrumentation Ideas

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.754.1 - 15.754.22

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

David Hergert Miami University

Download Paper |

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

` Instrumentation Based Mobile Laboratories for an Electromechanical Engineering Technology Distance Education Program Introduction The TAC/ABET accredited B.S. Electromechanical Engineering Technology program described in this paper includes a distance education component that connects with ten community colleges within a 300 mile radius of the host institution. This paper begins with a brief overview of distance education lab structures. Then a series of labs for a computerized instrumentation course are presented that focus on having the students become involved in the design of common components. Examples include an encoder, tachometer, accelerometer, motor torque and fluid discharge coefficient measurements. These labs are mobile in the sense that the entire course is in a utility box that can easily be transported from campus to campus. Also the labs use inexpensive components that can be easily replaced.

The outcomes, procedure, and equipment associated with each lab are presented, along with subsequent photographs and descriptions of the results.

Finally assessment results of the labs are displayed.

Distance Education Engineering Labs Distance education labs have been used frequently for the last ten to fifteen years. Feisel 1 notes that distance education has dramatically affected laboratory instruction, allowing for remote data access and instruction. Experiments can now be conducted at a distance of hundreds of miles from the equipment. These labs help guide future engineers as they learn how to collect experimental data that guides in the design of products.

Etkina notes, that the engineering lab is also “…an experiment that typically involves solving a practical problem or determining an unknown quantity by performing experiments. Students need to solve these experimental problems using at least two different methods and then compare the results. Often they need to perform additional experiments or make informed estimates to determine some physical quantities.”2 Distance labs are focused on having students develop a solid understand of how basic instrumentation and control software and equipment (encoders, tachometers, image processing, actuators, and servomotors) operate.

Models of Lab Delivery for Distance Programs One of the most challenging aspects of this program is the student laboratory experience. Data acquisition, signal processing, sensors, PLCs, hydraulics and pneumatics, and motor control are important subjects in an electromechanical program. In order for students to fully understand their operation, they need to work on this equipment. Equipping engineering and engineering technology laboratories at distance sites has been on-going for years at universities. These laboratories usually fall into some combination of the following models:

A. Distance Students Travel to the Host Universities. Here students travel to the main campus to do a compressed form of the labs. There is little time to do more than follow a set of instructions. This severely limits access. Students living 100

Hergert, D. (2010, June), Instrumentation Based Mobile Laboratories For An Electromechanical Engineering Technology Distance Education Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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: © 2010 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