June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1341.1 - 26.1341.8
Revising Mechanical Engineering Laboratories for Improved Student OutcomesStudents in the mechanical specialization at XXX University are currently required to take twomechanical engineering laboratory courses – one in the third year of the curriculum and the otherin the fourth year. The first course consists of seven or eight single-period, well definedactivities (e.g., hardness testing and beam bending); followed by three activities that aresomewhat more substantial and open-ended (e.g., determine the coefficient of performance of arefrigeration system). The second course consists of two 7-week, open-ended activities in whichstudents are expected to define, plan, and conduct a series of experiments to meet an objective(e.g., determine a free convection correlation for a fixed geometry).Instructor feedback and ABET assessment indicated that students were unable to conduct andevaluate the experiments in the second course with the desired level of confidence andcompetence. In particular, it was apparent that students were deficient in their understanding ofvarious measurement devices and procedures, as well as technical writing practice. As a result,mechanical engineering faculty decided to implement a change to the first course in order toimprove student performance in the second.The initial delivery method of the first course included one hour of lecture and three hours of lab(1-3-2). The modified course included 3 hours of lecture and three hours of lab (3-3-4), with theintent of providing additional time for instruction on measurement and writing. The facultydecided not to alter the laboratory content, in order to more clearly evaluate the change to thelecture component.This paper presents an overview of the revised laboratory structure and examines early results ofan assessment scheme for demonstrating the ability to design and conduct experiments, as wellas to analyze and interpret data. While there is anecdotal evidence suggesting improved studentoutcome based on this preliminary review, differences are not statistically significant.
Butler, A. J., & Moses, W., & Hill, S. (2015, June), Revising Mechanical Engineering Laboratories for Improved Student Outcomes Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24678
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