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Retooling The Environmental Engineering Laboratory Capstone Experience For Abet 2000

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Laboratory Experiences for Env. Engineers

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.988.1 - 7.988.7



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Paper Authors

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Richard Mines

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Andre J. Butler

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Laura Lackey

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Philip McCreanor

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Session 3451

Retooling the Environmental Engineering Laboratory Capstone Experience for ABET 2000

Laura W. Lackey, Richard O. Mines, Philip T. McCreanor, and André J. Butler Mercer University School of Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, 1400 Coleman Ave, Macon, GA 31207-0001

Abstract The traditional undergraduate environmental engineering laboratory experience is well designed and provides students with appropriate hands on activities relating to data collection and analysis. Students learn the appropriate procedures to perform analytical tests on water, wastewater and sludge samples in accordance with Standard Methods.1

The Mercer University School of Engineering (MUSE) environmental engineering capstone laboratory experience has historically provided students with proficient content in wet chemistry and soil and air analysis as well as data interpretation. Prior to individual lab exercises, students were provided necessary background information as well as details of the laboratory procedure(s) to be conducted during the following laboratory period. This format exposed the students to a wide variety of laboratory and data analysis techniques, but limited the amount of experimental design actually conducted by the students.

ABET’s EC 2000 criteria specifies that graduates of baccalaureate engineering programs must have an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data. Based on this criterion, the MUSE environmental engineering lab experience was re-structured to emphasize experimental design by including four open-ended problems in the laboratory experience. These supplementary projects required the design of experiments to evaluate a bench-scale wastewater treatment plant, an adsorption process, a coagulation/flocculation experience and an investigation of the interferences associated with the measurement of chemical oxygen demand (COD). These experimental design experiences were added to the course without eliminating content included in the former format and the workload experienced by the student was not significantly increased. Finally, an innovative grading scheme was developed in an effort to better quantify student performance. This paper details how the MUSE senior environmental engineering laboratory experience was modified to better meet criteria specified by ABET EC 2000.

Background The Mercer School of Engineering (MUSE) faculty has identified eight outcomes, listed in the appendix of this manuscript, that are used to facilitate assessment activities in accordance with ABET’s EC 2000.2 MUSE outcome #4 states that graduates with a bachelors degree in engineering should be able to “design and conduct experiments and analyze data.” Historic offerings of the senior environmental engineering capstone laboratory (EVE 445L) focused primarily on conducting experiments and analyzing and interpreting experimental data. The

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Mines, R., & Butler, A. J., & Lackey, L., & McCreanor, P. (2002, June), Retooling The Environmental Engineering Laboratory Capstone Experience For Abet 2000 Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10953

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