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Using Technology To Support Engineering Laboratory Studies

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Design of Lab Experiments II

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

12.1568.1 - 12.1568.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2000

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

biography

Mark Russell University of Hertfordshire

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Mark Russell's teaching and learning interests are varied, and include exploring the effective use of technologies to support in-class activities, developing collaborative learning opportunities and developing innovative tools for electronic-assessment. Marks current interests lie in the area of Just-In-Time teaching and using the students' own understandings to help guide the lecture experience. In addition to winning the UK e-tutor of the year (2003) Mark was awarded a UK National Teaching Fellowship (2005).

Mark spreads his time between the School of Aerospace, Automotive and Design Engineering and the Blended Learning Unit at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using technology to support engineering laboratory studies

Abstract

Learning requires activities that facilitate exploration, personal (first-hand) experience as well as provide opportunities for students to develop and re-conceptualise their growing knowledge. Laboratory studies present an ideal opportunity for such personal action and reflection whilst also bringing some of the classroom activity to life. Although carefully considered laboratory studies have the potential to be highly educationally effective, issues arise with the associated burden these studies place on teachers. This is particularly evident in the United Kingdom with growing student numbers and an often associated reduction in teacher-student contact time. In the extreme, concerns over the low resource efficiency may dominate such that some laboratory studies may be withdrawn from the curriculum.

The approach demonstrated in this paper seeks to redress that issue and utilises computing technology and students themselves to increase the resource efficiency and enhance the educationally effectiveness experience.

Introduction

Learning is not a spectator sport – it requires activities that facilitate exploration, personal experience as well as provide opportunities for students to develop and re-conceptualise their growing knowledge. Such principles are articulated in instruments suggesting how we might think about learning, see for example Kolb’s experiential learning cycle(1), as well as in suggested principles for good practice in undergraduate education(2).

Learning is also enhanced when it is a situated activity such that it presents an opportunity for the students to see, explore, and gain first-hand experiences. Far too often, however, didactic teaching transmits to the learners a second-hand view of knowledge. A view that is held by the teachers or conventional wisdom. Whilst the transmission of knowledge may be highly efficient the views are often too abstract and have limited relevance to the learners’ current conceptions or knowledge base.

Laboratory studies, however, present an ideal opportunity for personal action and reflection. By definition, they also provide an opportunity for students to gain the much sought after first-hand experience whilst also bringing some of the classroom knowledge to life.

Whilst carefully considered laboratory studies have the potential to be highly educationally effective issues arise with the associated burden these studies place on teachers. This is particularly evident in the United Kingdom with growing student numbers and an often attendant reduction in teacher-student contact time. For cases where laboratory studies are unfortunately seen as a value-added activity, rather than an integral part of engineering curricula, concerns over the low resource efficiency often dominate such that some laboratory studies are withdrawn from the teaching plan. Such decisions, it is argued, will be detrimental to the undergraduates learning experience.

This paper demonstrates two approaches to redress the issue. In the first example technology is developed to better support the resource efficiency whereas in the second example

Russell, M. (2007, June), Using Technology To Support Engineering Laboratory Studies Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2000

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