In proceedings 2006 ASEE Annual Conference, Chicago, June 2006.
Mechanical measurements: Rewriting the script
Richard A. Layton and James E. Mayhew

In a recent paper, we describe specific steps to improve a mechanical engineering lab sequence by paying close attention to the learning objectives appropriate to engineering laboratories. Several recommendations are made for long-term improvements to our junior-level course in measurement systems. In the near-term, however, we have made substantive improvements to the mechanical measurements course within existing budgets and space and without increasing the course credit hours. These near-term improvements are the topic of this paper. The first improvement is the transformation of measurement-device lectures into 50-minute, “hands-on” mini-labs. The second improvement is the replacement of some labs with workshops on uncertainty analysis and experiment design. The third improvement is the narrowing of the focus of the student projects to allow time for greater depth and to better meet our learning objectives. The fourth improvement is “rewriting the script” of conventional experiments to improve student engagement and reduce the tendency of students to “take the data and get out.” We observed improvements in both the quality of the questions students ask during the term and the quality of their final presentations.

©2006 American Society for Engineering Education.

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Richard A. Layton
Last modified: 19 Apr 06