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Network-based Data Collection for a Project-based Freshman Class

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Remote and Network-based Laboratories

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.972.1 - 25.972.8



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Paper Authors


Samuel Bogan Daniels University of New Haven

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Dr. Daniels is an associate professor of mechanical engineering with more than 20 years of experience teaching laboratory classes. He also teaches in the multidisciplinary engineering foundation spiral curriculum at the University of New Haven. Research interests are in engineering education and renewable energy systems.

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Cheryl Q Li University of New Haven

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Dr. Cheryl Qing Li joined University of New Haven in the fall of 2011, where she is a senior lecturer of the Industrial, System & Multidisciplinary Engineering Department. Dr. Li earned her first Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from National University of Singapore in 1997. She served as Assistant Professor and subsequently Associate Professor in Mechatronics Engineering at University of Adelaide, Australia and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore respectively. In 2006, she resigned from her faculty job and came to Connecticut for family reunion. Throughout her academic career in Australia and Singapore, she had developed a very strong interest in learning psychology and educational measurement. She then opted for a second Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, specialized in Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment at University of Connecticut. She earned her second Ph.D. in 2010. Dr. Li has a unique cross-disciplinary educational and research background in Mechatronics Engineering, specialized in Control and Robotics, and Educational Psychology, specialized in Statistical Analysis and Program Evaluation.

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W. David Harding P.E. University of New Haven

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The hands-on experience for engineering students is often lacking with class sizesincreasing and classroom resources under constant pressure. Even with smaller classsizes and studio classrooms there is only so much equipment and technical support to runexperiments and allow for student interaction. Network-based data collection and controlmay alleviate some of these issues and allow for more hands-on experiences, althoughremote, in the classroom. This paper discusses the interesting problems and not soobvious pitfalls of setting up some simple network-based data acquisition systems for amultidisciplinary freshman level engineering course. The course as currently taughtincludes some sensor calibration and feedback/control projects using LabVIEW that areintroduced in the last six weeks of the term. In groups of three or four students, theydevelop a basic understanding of interfacing to sensors and using LabVIEW through aseries of guided exercises. The projects assigned are all team based, so it is always aconcern that each student in the team develops a good understanding of sensorcalibration, data acquisition and control fundamentals. Too often one student will operatethe system and the other students just stand to the side watching. With the limitednumber of control experiments and data acquisition systems, there have been few optionsfor improving the experience. This paper discusses the options and approaches currentlyin development for this rather difficult approach. We address how this might beintegrated into the existing freshman course and how it might improve student learning.This approach may also have a role for many other courses by bringing more appliedproblems into the classroom through the network-based laboratory experience.

Daniels, S. B., & Li, C. Q., & Harding, W. D. (2012, June), Network-based Data Collection for a Project-based Freshman Class Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21729

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