Take-home experiments in engineering courses: Evaluation methods and lessons learned

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Date of Original Version



This paper reports on the evaluation findings and the lessons learned from performing take-home laboratories in four undergraduate mechanical engineering courses at the University of Rhode Island. In this project, students were provided with a compact, low-cost kit with which they can perform an experiment at home using their own PC/laptop. A Student Survey was developed and used to collect perceptions of curricular effectiveness from the URI(University of Rhode Island) students on a post-course basis. In addition, pre- and post- quizzes were administered in the affected courses. The evaluation showed several things. First, student responses on the surveys and results of quiz grades indicated that the kits played an important role in the conceptual understanding of the course material and application of the course content to real world applications. Second, across the four mechanical engineering courses in which the kits were implemented, the majority of students consistently reported that they were comfortable working on, and with, the take-home kits independent of a lab or instructor. They also reported that both the software and the hardware of the take-home kits were easy to set up and use. Third, one semester after the kits were first placed into service, there has been a steady increase in undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student interest in system dynamics courses as evidenced by an increase in the student enrollment in three of the affected courses. © 2013 TEMPUS Publications.

Publication Title

International Journal of Engineering Education





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