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Learning Enhancement Of Systems Dynamics Via Laboratory Demonstrations

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session


Page Count


Page Numbers

10.878.1 - 10.878.10



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Paper Authors

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John Ficken

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Subha Kumpaty

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Learning Enhancement of Systems Dynamics via Laboratory Demonstrations

Subha K. Kumpaty and John Ficken

Milwaukee School of Engineering, 1025 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202


Introduced since Spring 2004 into the MSOE’s mechanical engineering curriculum is a four- credit sophomore level course, Dynamics of Systems. This course is a perfect sequel to the calculus sequence that culminates in differential equations and the mechanics sequence (statics- dynamics) and a crucial prelude to the numerical modeling and analysis and a host of mechanical engineering courses such as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, dynamics of machinery and automatic controls offered in the junior year. The co-author, Dr. Kumpaty coordinated the course offering and charted out laboratory demonstrations at crucial stages of the course material. The student learning has been tremendously increased as experiments are performed, data is gathered, experimental results are compared to the theory and reports are prepared. The similarity of systems and the characteristics of first-order and second-order systems are fully emphasized and clearly grasped. The overall experience with this integrated teaching has been very rewarding to both faculty and students. The details of the experience, the laboratory demonstrations developed covering mechanical, electrical and thermal systems and the effective utilization of the data gathered and the results obtained are presented.


Milwaukee School of Engineering is dedicated to excellence in undergraduate education. The goal of the undergraduate curriculum is to produce well-rounded engineers, which is achieved through strong emphasis in a) excellent technical preparation, b) strong laboratory orientation with faculty teaching labs in small size sections and c) required Senior Design projects. Accordingly, MSOE graduates are highly sought by industry (over 99% placement). The mechanical engineering students are introduced to MATLAB programming in the freshman year itself and are taught numerical modeling and analysis in the junior year. Bridging the gap is our four-credit class in Systems Dynamics in the spring (last) quarter of sophomore year. Up until winter quarter of sophomore year, the students would be taking a five-course calculus sequence culminating in differential equations, and they would also complete statics and dynamics in the fall and winter of sophomore year, setting up Dynamics of Systems to be a perfect sequel to these courses in the spring quarter of the sophomore year. Currently, the Woods and Lawrence text1 is employed for this course while the faculty teaching are equally approving of the Close, Frederick and Newell text2 as an alternate for future offerings. Dr. Kumpaty, as the course coordinator, charted out various laboratory demonstrations at crucial stages of the material being covered; he used his prior experience in handling the Vibrations course and was ably supported

1 Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Ficken, J., & Kumpaty, S. (2005, June), Learning Enhancement Of Systems Dynamics Via Laboratory Demonstrations Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14235

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