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Improving Learning Outcomes of a Course in Instrumentation

[+] Author Affiliations
Mulchand S. Rathod

Wayne State University

Paper No. IMECE2006-13589, pp. 419-428; 10 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4781-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Many engineering educators have become sensitive to the improved outcome of student learning in their classes. This has been true for our colleagues in the colleges of education where teachers are prepared for the teaching pedagogy. In many cultures as well as ours, the teaching profession is upheld as a noble profession. At the same time, the university faculty are held with high esteem by the general population. Faculty teaching in undergraduate programs have begun to address the pedagogy of learning in recent years. There is a national trend towards helping in this phenomenon. Besides funding initiatives by organizations such as the National, Science Foundation, engineering professional societies continue to organize forums and awards to recognize and promote teaching and learning of engineering subject matter. This paper would address an experiment in improved learning by students of a subject matter that is laboratory based. The instrumentation course is a required course for engineering technology (ET) students pursuing mechanical, manufacturing/industrial, product design, and electromechanical majors at Wayne State University (WSU). Most engineering technology students are more comfortable with experimental techniques than with derivation of equations and formulas. Setting for this course was a multi-media distance learning classroom and a set of lab experiments. The teacher had an important task of not just covering the material, but to increase student interest to optimize their learning. Although all the teaching materials were prepared for presentation in power point, after discussion with the class it was decided to make the learning process different from the traditional teaching. The class was divided in three groups and each group was given a reading assignment covering one third of the material to be covered in each session. Each team met on a regular basis going over its assignment and breaking up the tasks for each team member to lead presentation and discussion for the whole class. Learning objectives addressed in the course included team work, effective communication, system design and testing, continued student participation, effective learning for long term retention besides the contents of the subject matter. Overall, student really felt they were learning a lot and new things. This paper summarizes a very positive experience of students and faculty dealing with learning pedagogy.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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