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Manipulation Matters: Isolating the Impact of Lecture vs. Lab Experience in an Undergraduate Engineering Controls Class

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies - Mechanical Engineering Labs

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Dustyn Roberts P.E. University of Delaware

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Dustyn Roberts received her B.S. in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (2003), her M.S. in Biomechanics & Movement Science (2004) from the University of Delaware, and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (2014) from New York University. She has six years of professional experience in the robotics and medical fields, and is passionate about translational research and engineering education.

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D. R. Haidar University of Delaware Orcid 16x16

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Diana R. Haidar is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and doctoral candidate, advised by professor David L. Burris in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware. While previously conducting research on metal matrix nanocomposites as an undergraduate at UW-Madison, she cultivated a deep interest in the development of next-generation advanced materials. Now as a graduate researcher, she applies her knowledge of designing nanocomposites to the field of tribology, particularly ultralow wear polymeric materials. As part of her work she mentors both undergraduates and high school students in lab research, sharing her excitement for science with them. In addition to this, she strives to promote women in STEM fields by both supporting graduate student’s professional development as a Committee Member of the College of Engineering’s Women In Engineering Program and participating in engineering outreach events for high school girls through the Perry Initiative. You can reach her at .

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Several studies have shown that laboratories that implement interactive learning and cooperative group exercises lead to an improvement in student outcomes as compared to the passive listening characteristic of traditional lectures. The disparity in these experiences is one of many reasons that several undergraduate engineering subjects are taught with both lecture and lab sessions in parallel. At the authors’ university, Vibrations and Controls is a junior level class in mechanical engineering that has a 3 credit lecture and 1 credit lab that are co-requisites, but are not required to be taken in the same semester. This offers a unique opportunity to analyze student performance for the three distinct groups of students enrolled in lab only, lecture only, and lecture plus lab. We hypothesized that students in the lecture plus lab group would have higher grades in the lecture course than the students enrolled only in the lecture. Our results support this hypothesis.

Roberts, D., & Haidar, D. R. (2017, June), Manipulation Matters: Isolating the Impact of Lecture vs. Lab Experience in an Undergraduate Engineering Controls Class Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28648

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