Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Electrical and Computer
Laboratory courses have been a key component of engineering education in the United States since the founding of the earliest American engineering schools (Feisel and Rosa, 2005). Today, well designed laboratories in the undergraduate curriculum play a critical role in the development of students' hands-on skills, problem-solving abilities, teamwork skills and analytical thinking while also deepening the content learned in lecture-based classes. The primary focus of this paper is the design, evaluation and improvement of a multi-faceted, intra-disciplinary laboratory called the Systems Exploration, Engineering, and Design Laboratory (SEED Lab). Created with the support and input of industry partners, the SEED Lab aims to emulate our students' likely future experiences in a professional environment. The course employs assessment techniques such as reflection logs, CATME evaluations, team presentations at regular intervals, and performance-based demonstrations.
One of the original aims in designing the SEED Lab was to explore how a novel undergraduate laboratory experience could rectify or address many of the issues that are common with laboratory courses, such as their cost, low student engagement, insufficient time for mastery of laboratory skills, and a focus on specific technical content at the expense of developing design skills and integrating knowledge from disparate courses. The SEED Lab is delivered as a project-based course, with little to no procedural instructions or lectures, while still providing an experience close to what students would go through in the industry when working on building a product.
The SEED Lab is designed to support multiple undergraduate courses across the electrical engineering curriculum. It has been fully developed and offered as a one credit hour project-based junior/senior level course since Fall of 2015. Students work in teams of three or four with each student bringing their own skillset to the table, and work together toward a fully functional system. The course is divided into multiple phases. The first phase provides some introductory training in the equipment being used. Limited guidance is provided in terms of handouts and reference materials, as students engage in the process of self-learning. The second phase is when students choose from a range of focus areas to develop their expertise in. In the final phase, students integrate their pieces of the project into a final design. There are three milestones that are demonstrated throughout the semester. Each provides the students the opportunity to evaluate and refine their designs. Scoring at each demonstration is performance-based where students are required to meet several different criteria. Their final score depends on how well they performed in a specific criteria compared to other teams, introducing an element of competition.
The paper will include a detailed discussion on how the course has been designed, the implementation and delivery mechanisms, and the resources required. In addition, an analysis of data collected from Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 will be presented. The data collected is meant to measure the impact of the course on students’ abilities to experiment and prototype, work as a team in the engineering design process, and students’ attitudes and abilities to learn from failure.
Regular Presentation Preference
Dave, V., & Vincent, T. L., & Sanders, M., & Claussen, S. (2018, June), Student Engagement and Industry Readiness in a Systems Exploration, Engineering, and Design Laboratory (SEED Lab) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31004
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