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Lab Lecture Experiments As A Principle Of Teaching

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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

Electrical and Computer Engineering Poster

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.783.1 - 7.783.7



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Paper Authors

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Alexander Ganago

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Session 1532

Lab Lecture experiments as a principle of teaching

Alexander Ganago

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Michigan 1301 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor MI 48109-2122

Instructors who teach theory traditionally provide their students with several ways to ensure that they have attained the required new knowledge or skill before being tested on it. Students can ask questions during lectures and office hours, practice exercises in the textbook and do the assigned homework, etc. Thus the tradition creates several steps of reassurance for the student that the material has been learned before grade points are given or deducted for the results of this learning demonstrated on the exam.

Surprisingly, this tradition is often defied in laboratory teaching. For example, it is not unusual to find a laboratory assignment, in which the beginning students who were just shown an oscilloscope are required to make measurements using this new instrument, with a possibility of losing the points for getting wrong results. The learning suffers when students are unsure whether they are doing the right thing and whether their data make sense. Lack of reassurance leads to unnecessary stress, shifts focus from learning to fear of losing points, and makes laboratory activities less effective than they should be.

With the goal to create an atmosphere of active learning in the lab, I designed and developed so- called Lab Lecture experiments, which help students separate learning from earning points and make sure that the newly learned laboratory procedures are correctly performed. During Lab Lecture experiments students learn new skills, perform measurements, and make accurate records of lab results according to step-by-step instructions given in the Lab Book. Only after the students completed the Lab Lecture experiment they begin doing the Lab experiment on the same topic, for which they earn grade points.

The sequence of Lab Lecture experiments followed by Lab experiments has been successfully used in introductory electric circuit courses at the University of Michigan for three years.

In this paper I explain the structure of Lab Lecture experiments and the role of the Lab instructor, summarize the effectiveness of Lab Lecture experiments implemented in the new Lab Book Circuits make sense written for introductory circuit courses, quote the students’ comments, and discuss the importance of Lab Lecture experiments with respect to the goals set in ABET 2000 Program Outcomes as well as possible use of this teaching format in other engineering courses.

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

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Ganago, A. (2002, June), Lab Lecture Experiments As A Principle Of Teaching Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11340

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