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Introduction to Engineering Virtual Labs - Challenges and Improvements

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

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First-Year Programs

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Gloria Guohua Ma Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Gloria Ma is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology. She has been teaching robotics with Lego Mindstorm to ME freshmen for several years. She is actively involved in community services of offering robotics workshops to middle- and high-school girls. Her research interests are dynamics and system modeling, geometry modeling, project based engineering design, and robotics in manufacturing.

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David E. Perkins Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Theodore Greene Wentworth Institute of Technology


John Peter Voccio Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Assistant Professor, Ph.D, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA 02115, Phone: 617-989-4258, Email:, Specialization in Mechanical Design, Finite Element Analysis and Superconducting Magnets

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Labs are a vital component to learning; hands-on labs reinforce the theory that the students learned in lecture.  Whether you are conducting experiments, evaluating results, or comparing data, access to the labs on campus is vital to learning. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, accessing the labs on campus has been a challenge.  In Fall 2020 first-year students were invited back to campus. Introduction to Engineering is one of the first-year courses having lab components. How to conduct the lab experiment to meet the course requirements and provide a good experience for the first-year students are challenges for instructors. To provide necessary hands-on experience and at the same time to reduce the overall risk of COVID-19 exposure, the first-year students Mechanical engineering labs were carefully classified to virtual and in person labs. This paper describes the design, implementation, and challenges of the virtual/in person labs. Student's feedback was collected to reflect their overall lab experience in this special time.

Ma, G. G., & Perkins, D. E., & Greene, T., & Voccio, J. P. (2021, July), Introduction to Engineering Virtual Labs - Challenges and Improvements Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37387

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