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Involving Undergraduate Students In Design Of An Affordable Model Laboratory

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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

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.768.1 - 7.768.27



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Paper Authors

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Bijan Sepahpour

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

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Bijan Sepahpour The College of New Jersey Department of Engineering Ewing, New Jersey 08628-0718 Tel. 609.771.3463


A promising model for involving undergraduate engineering students in design of experiments and fabrication of their associated apparatuses is proposed. It is a proven fact that students learn better and retain more information by doing rather than hearing or observing. Some also learn best when they are allowed to discover on their own. Due to the influence of the ABET 2000 Criteria, all engineering students must develop the ability to design and conduct experiments, analyze and interpret data, and communicate the results effectively. Many undergraduate engineering programs suffer from lack of equipment/apparatus for experimentation. Commercial units are very costly and generally not exactly custom tailored for the specific needs of certain topics in a course. This model may be incorporated into a typical four-year undergraduate engineering curriculum to successfully address many of such concerns. In their laboratory-oriented courses, student groups are encouraged to design meaningful experiments. In this process, the coordinator may be able to discover those students with a high level of interest and enthusiasm. Some of these student-proposed experiments may be expanded/fine tuned into conceivable and practical entities. Several such experiments and their associated apparatuses that have been successfully conceived through the proposed approach are briefly discussed. These case studies range from a simple and yet quite an ingenious experiment to those that are novel and not commercially available. Elements of Group Dynamics and the instrumental role of the coordinator in recognizing the capabilities and limitations of each group and his/her necessary willingness to spend the time for provision of guidance at the critical stages are discussed.


This paper describes the parameters involved in the generation of an exemplary and yet affordable undergraduate laboratory designed for conducting experiments in Mechanics of Materials and Dynamics of Machinery. The central role of the undergraduate students and the instrumental role of the coordinator in achieving this task are discussed.

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

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Sepahpour, B. (2002, June), Involving Undergraduate Students In Design Of An Affordable Model Laboratory Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10838

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