Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


An Innovative Integrated Learning Laboratory Environment

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The current paradigm in engineering course instruction builds on a lecture prerequisite structure but ignores the need for a laboratory prerequisite structure. Educational quality is therefore diminished as instructors optimize specific laboratories but fail to optimize the overall program laboratory experience. This paper presents a learning environment that forces students to use not only concepts and skills acquired from the lecture, but also actual data and models acquired from lower division laboratories, in upper division laboratories. The integration occurs because students must utilize their previous laboratory work as a reference and/or building blocks as they study the different facets of the same experimental set-ups in multiple engineering laboratories. The students learn to appreciate the integrated nature of modern systems since they get to use the same set-ups in multiple courses. There are other indirect advantages of this approach in terms of financial economy and faculty professional development.

Publication Title

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1997. 27th Annual Conference. Teaching and Learning in an Era of Change. Proceedings.



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