Engineering Laboratory Instruction in Virtual Environment – “eLIVE”

ABSTRACT

A novel application of web-based virtual laboratories to prepare students for physical experiments is explored in some detail. The pedagogy of supplementing the physical laboratory with web-based virtual laboratories is implemented by developing a web-based tool, designated in this work as “eLIVE,” an acronym for Engineering Laboratory Instruction in Virtual Environment. Two physical experiments, one each from the thermo-fluids laboratory and the solid mechanics laboratory in the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum, are transformed into web-based virtual experiments for application as pre-lab practice sessions. The key question answered here is as follows: Do the web-based virtual experiments developed for supplementation of physical laboratory instruction enhance students’ knowledge of experimental procedure and data acquisition? This question is answered by assessing the performance of a “control” group of students that did not use “eLIVE” and comparing it with the performance of an “experimental” group that availed “eLIVE” prior to the physical experiment sessions. Students’ performance in tests and quizzes administered to both the groups prior to the physical experiments was analyzed, using a non-parametric statistical method, to establish the statistical significance of assessed results with respect to “eLIVE” intervention, and demographic parameters such as gender, ethnicity, academic achievement, age, course load etc. Statistical results as well as students’ response to surveys presented in this work point to “eLIVE” as being a very useful technology- enhanced interactive learning tool. The present study clearly establishes the pedagogy of physical laboratory supplementation with web-based virtual laboratories on a firm ground for possible extension to other engineering laboratory courses at ODU as well as at other institutions.

 

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Tarek Abdel-Salam Department of Engineering East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina

Tarek Abdel-Salam
Department of Engineering
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina

Jaewan Yoon Department of Civil Engineering Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia

Jaewan Yoon
Department of Civil Engineering
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia

Ramamurthy Prabhakaran Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia

Ramamurthy Prabhakaran
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia

Sushil Chaturvedi Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia

Sushil Chaturvedi
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia

 

 

 

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