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Web Lab: A New Approach To Undergraduate Me Laboratory Training At Georgia Tech

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Computers in ME

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1301.1 - 8.1301.7



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Paper Authors

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Davin Swanson

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Christopher Lynch

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

Session 3566

WebLab: a New Approach to Undergraduate ME Laboratory Training at Georgia Tech

Davin K. Swanson, Christopher S. Lynch

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 30332-0405


This paper describes the development and implementation of Internet-based technologies into a required undergraduate laboratory course, ME3056, at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The education of a large group of undergraduates (120 per semester) in laboratory techniques through hands on experience is a challenge to educators and institutions in many ways. This includes providing laboratory space, providing resources for equipment and graduate teaching assistants, and providing sufficient student time in the laboratory. ME3056 is a laboratory course in experimental methodology that focuses on the experimental process, teamwork, laboratory and instrumentation skills, data analysis, and proper presentation of results. It touches on all major areas within mechanical engineering, thus encompassing a wide range of subject matter. The students are divided into groups of 12. Each group has two required hours of laboratory time per week with a third optional hour available. This makes pre-laboratory student preparation critical. WebLab was developed as a pre-lab training tool so that the students would be familiar with the operation of complex equipment and procedures prior to their laboratory time. This has shifted the focus of the student’s laboratory time from becoming familiar with the equipment to using the equipment to collect quality data. The organization of the course, integration of WebLab and WebCT, and the effect of Internet-based technologies on the students’ experience are discussed.

Description of course

ME3056 is a required course for all undergraduate ME students at Georgia Tech. It is given each semester, including summer, and has an average enrollment of 120 students. Students spend one hour per week in lecture and two hours in the laboratory. The lectures are divided into two sections of 60 students, taught by the professor. They consist of presentation of laboratory procedures and equipment and the appropriate theory required for the week’s lab. Attendance is taken and counts for 5 points out of a total of 100 for that week’s lab report grade. The laboratory sessions are divided into ten sections of twelve students, taught by two graduate teaching assistants. Each teaching assistant teaches two lab sections per week, and all are required to hold scheduled office hours each week (2 hours per teaching assistant) to help students with data analysis and their lab reports.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Swanson, D., & Lynch, C. (2003, June), Web Lab: A New Approach To Undergraduate Me Laboratory Training At Georgia Tech Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12348

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