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Participation and Learning in Labs Before and During a Pandemic

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Adaptation of Laboratory-based Courses During a Pandemic: Experimentation and Laboratory-oriented Studies Division

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Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors

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Madalyn Wilson-Fetrow University of New Mexico


Vanessa Svihla University of New Mexico Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Vanessa Svihla is a learning scientist and associate professor at the University of New Mexico in the Organization, Information and Learning Sciences program and in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department. She served as Co-PI on an NSF RET Grant and a USDA NIFA grant, and is currently co-PI on three NSF-funded projects in engineering and computer science education, including a Revolutionizing Engineering Departments project. She was selected as a National Academy of Education / Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow and a 2018 NSF CAREER awardee in engineering education research. Dr. Svihla studies learning in authentic, real world conditions, specifically on design learning, in which she studies engineers designing devices, scientists designing investigations, teachers designing learning experiences and students designing to learn.

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Ardeshir Raihanian Mashhadi University at Buffalo

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Dr. Ardeshir Raihanian is an assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University at Buffalo. His research interests include user-centric design, sustainable design, user behavior simulation and agent based modeling. He also researches and publishes in areas surrounding engineering education. He has won multiple awards, including Design for Manufacture and the Life Cycle Technical Committee Best Paper(2017) and the International Life Cycle Academy Award for the best paper on Sustainable Consumption (2017). He is also responsible for teaching introductory, intermediate and advanced design related courses in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University at Buffalo.

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Tracy L. Mallette University of New Mexico

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Andrew P. Shreve University of New Mexico

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Experiments form the backbone of much of engineering education, but because it is not always possible to do them in person, simulations can provide a powerful alternative to assist student learning. We present data from two versions of two chemical engineering courses where in-person labs pivoted to virtual simulated experiments. In the first-year introduction to chemical engineering course we designed a simulation for students to design and then test a bench-scale prototype of a remediation column for acid mine drainage. In the junior-level chemical engineering laboratory—students typically carry out a bomb calorimetry experiment of sucrose and then analyze their data. We created a simulation based on a combination of thermodynamic models and previous years' data. We found that opportunities for learning came out of the amount of agency and the consequential decisions each experiment allowed the students to make. Based on student engagement and learning, we propose guidelines for integrating simulations as prelab activities.

Wilson-Fetrow, M., & Svihla, V., & Raihanian Mashhadi, A., & Mallette, T. L., & Shreve, A. P. (2021, July), Participation and Learning in Labs Before and During a Pandemic Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37564

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