June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.812.1 - 8.812.7
Learning Design in Lab
Camilla M. Saviz and Kurt C. Schulz School of Engineering and Computer Science University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
Laboratory curricula in two core undergraduate-level engineering courses, Fluid Mechanics and Materials Science, have been enhanced through implementation of laboratory design experiences. In addition to performing established experiments, students work in teams to develop a laboratory experiment investigating a course- related topic which they are required to research and formally report on prior to pursuing development of the experiment. Students indicate their preferences from a general list of suggested topic areas or develop a topic in consultation with the course instructor. Over the course of the semester, each team researches, designs, develops, tests, and reports on the laboratory experiment developed for the selected topic. In addition to gaining hands-on experience in solving an open-ended problem and resolving design, development, and implementation issues, students develop their communication, teamwork, and management skills. Following team formation, each team begins by researching the topic and developing a formal project plan which includes a timeline. Laboratory experiment ideas are then proposed and discussed with the instructor. Once approved, the students proceed to preparing a complete laboratory experiment write-up (handout), data collection sheet, data analysis spreadsheet, and complete lab report. Additionally, each team demonstrates the laboratory experiment and presents the theory, hypotheses, results, findings, and conclusions to the class in an oral presentation. These laboratory projects fulfill several learning objectives for each of these two undergraduate courses including providing students with experience in design, development of students' abilities to perform and design experiments, and development of their communication and teamwork skills. Different learning styles are accommodated by the use of such open-ended and innovative educational experiences.
Several educational goals  may be met in engineering laboratory courses [2; 3] including development of experimental skills, learning use of modern engineering tools and techniques, and development of teamwork and communication skills. Not incidentally, an important role of laboratory courses is exposure to real-world application of theory which can enhance students' learning and enthusiasm through the discovery process.
The level of structure in a laboratory course may vary depending on learning objectives of the course or curriculum and on the academic level of students enrolled in the
Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Saviz, C., & Schulz, K. (2003, June), Learning Design In Lab Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12134
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