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Interactive Multimedia: An Alternative To Manufacturing Laboratories

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.365.1 - 3.365.4

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Paper Authors

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Thomas J. Crowe

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Herman Budiman

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Elin M. Wicks

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

Session 3557

Interactive Multimedia: An Alternative to Manufacturing Laboratories

Thomas J. Crowe, Elin M. Wicks, and Herman Budiman University of Missouri - Columbia

ABSTRACT To ensure the continuation of important laboratory experiences, a new approach to manufacturing process laboratories is undertaken. A multimedia software package is being constructed to allow students to explore a virtual industrial park. The industrial park is composed of five virtual companies: a machine shop, a welding shop, a materials lab, a sheet metal shop, and a foundry-forging company. Through an interactive and non-linear presentation students may visit any or all of the companies. Within each company students may meet the employees, examine the products, investigate the manufacturing equipment, explore the manufacturing processes, and scrutinize the underlying theoretical manufacturing principles.

INTRODUCTION Almost without exception Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Vocational-Technical Education undergraduate curricula include a required course covering the theoretical and practical fundamentals of manufacturing processes. Often described as the oldest of all engineering courses, these courses attempt to teach topics such as machining, welding, forming, casting, forging, and materials analysis. These manufacturing courses are generally structured in the traditional engineering lecture-laboratory format; that is, several subject-focused lectures followed by an associated hands-on laboratory experience. Student participation is usually minimal in the lectures but emphasized in the laboratories.

In recent years, however, the balance between the passive lectures and the active laboratories has been changing. Manufacturing process laboratory equipment is becoming increasingly expensive to acquire, update, and maintain. As existing equipment becomes outdated and inoperable, more of the instructional load is shifting to the lecture portion of the courses. Unfortunately not only is the laboratory experience being lost, but it is being incrementally replaced by more of the student-passive lecture medium.

There are documented cases of universities choosing to spend large sums of money to upgrade their laboratories and there are documented cases of universities begrudgingly choosing to eliminate this topic from their curricula. We believe the ideal would be to keep and, in fact, enhance the topic without the large expenditures. To address these deteriorating conditions we are using the multimedia virtual industrial park.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The goals and objectives of developing a multimedia software package to allow students to explore a virtual industrial park are: • To use information technologies to improve instruction by promoting student–active hands– on learning experiences;

Crowe, T. J., & Budiman, H., & Wicks, E. M. (1998, June), Interactive Multimedia: An Alternative To Manufacturing Laboratories Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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