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Integrated Web Based Data Acquisition System In Civil Engineering Laboratories

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Unique Lab Experiments

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.683.1 - 7.683.10



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Paper Authors

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Brent Vaughn

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Chiang Lin

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

Main Menu Session 2526

Integrated Web-based Data Acquisition System in Civil Engineering Laboratories

Brent M. Vaughn, P.E., Chiang Lin, Ph.D. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Introduction A hands-on laboratory education has been considered a necessary part of teaching assignments in undergraduate engineering education. Since the 1980’s, many changes have been made to the classroom teaching due to the advancement of personal computers. In recent years, the usage of web-based technology has brought even more potential to improve teaching, especially in various laboratory environments.

In the Civil Engineering department at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), one of our departmental educational objectives requires students to be able to conduct laboratory experiments and to critically analyze and interpret data pertinent to civil engineering applications. A series of four laboratory courses were set up from the sophomore year to the senior year to achieve this objective. It is also our wish that through these four laboratory courses students will also learn how to properly compose either an internal or external laboratory report that to be presented to its intended audience.

At SIUE, the schedule allotted for each CE laboratory course includes three contact hours per week and is only assigned to have one credit hour for its academic unit. Students have to put in a lot effort in order to learn all the sample preparation, equipment setup, experimental steps and data acquisition for each experiment. On top of that, students are also expected to analyze and interpret the collected data to compose a significant laboratory report to be turned in. In the end, however, students earn only one credit hour for all the effort and time invested in each laboratory course. This is one of the main reasons why some instructors and students often feel frustrated when taking these laboratory courses.

One of the ways that we are trying at SIUE to remove this frustration is to develop and deploy a common tool in all the laboratory courses so that they can be simplified and some of redundant procedures and steps can be eliminated. In all of the laboratory courses, collecting data and sharing the data among group members is always required. It would be very convenient if a web-based data acquisition system could be developed to serve in all the laboratory courses. Students could learn the system once and then use it for subsequent laboratory courses. Instructors could also save valuable time because students who already know how to operate the data acquisition system could do with less assistance in the class. Students would also have the freedom to post necessary data to the course web page to share the data with fellow students. By using the web, students would feel greater accessibility to instructors or their classmates, and also save time in composing the needed laboratory reports.

Besides these apparent advantages for students and instructors, there are other practical advantages for having the same web based data acquisition system used in all the laboratory

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Vaughn, B., & Lin, C. (2002, June), Integrated Web Based Data Acquisition System In Civil Engineering Laboratories Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11105

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