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Teaching Spreadsheet-Based Numerical Analysis with Visual Basic for Applications and Virtual Instruments

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Simulation and Virtual Instrumentation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1402.1 - 22.1402.12



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Paper Authors


Nikunja Swain South Carolina State University

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Dr. Swain is currently a Professor at the South Carolina State University. Dr. Swain has 25+ years of experience as an engineer and educator. He has more than 50 publications in journals and conference proceedings, has procured research and development grants from the NSF, NASA, DOT, DOD, and DOE and reviewed number of books on computer related areas. He is also a reviewer for ACM Computing Reviews, IJAMT, CIT, ASEE, and other conferences and journals. He is a registered Professional Engineer in South Carolina.

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Teaching Spreadsheet-Based Numerical Analysis with Visual Basic for Applications and Virtual InstrumentsThe students’ over reliance upon formulas and routine use of technique in problem solving toooften lead to poor performance in advanced courses and a high attrition rate in the engineering,technology, and science programs. The students’ lack of comprehension of mathematicalconcepts results in time wastage during laboratory experiments, misinterpretations of lab dataand underachievement in standardized science and engineering tests that stress the fundamentals.This problem can be effectively addressed by improving the student’s conceptual understandingand comprehension of the topics covered in introductory science and technology courses. Oneway to achieve this is through interactive learning and teaching and upgrading the existinglaboratories with modern equipment. This will require increased funding and resources. But inrecent years there is a decrease in resource allocation making it increasingly difficult tomodernize the laboratories to provide adequate levels of laboratory and course work anduniversities are under pressure to look for alternative cost effective methods. One way to achievethis is through interactive learning and teaching through the use of software packages likeLabVIEW, Excel and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).LabVIEW, EXCEL and VBA are currently used in a number of engineering schools andindustries for simulation and analysis. By introducing virtual instrumentation (LabVIEW) andEXCEL/VBA to the existing laboratory facilities and course(s) the students can be well trainedwith the latest design techniques and computer aided instrumentation, design and process controlused throughout industry. This will also allow the students greater interaction with the subjectmatter and improve his/her skills in the use of number of applied engineering software packages.This paper will discuss design and development of interactive instructional modules forNumerical Analysis Course using LabVIEW, EXCEL and VBA.

Swain, N. (2011, June), Teaching Spreadsheet-Based Numerical Analysis with Visual Basic for Applications and Virtual Instruments Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18647

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