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Challenge-based Lab Instruction Improves Interaction in Physical Electronic Circuits Labs

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3 Author(s)
Watai, L.L. ; Sch. of Eng., Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN ; Brodersen, A.J. ; Brophy, S.P.

Engineering labs provide an environment for both conceptual inquiry and procedural/practical skill and knowledge acquisition. Student performance in both areas can vary depending on their prior competencies and knowledge of basic concepts of the lab, motivation, and expectations. And when insufficient resources are available for students to learn how to perform routine lab procedures, students and lab instructors often spend the entire lab period addressing procedural issues and not enough time spent on conceptual inquiry and discussion. A study at Vanderbilt University explored the potential of providing "just in time, in context" Web-based learning resources during before-lab and during-lab access to determine if student procedural queries that predominantly occupy TA time can be reduced and increase conceptual discussions. This paper describes the study and presents statistics on conceptual and procedural deficiencies in individual students and the class, results showing positive outcomes in student self-correction of misconceptions using Web-based resources, and improvement in the quality of student and TA interaction in the lab

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2005. FIE '05. Proceedings 35th Annual Conference

Date of Conference:

19-22 Oct. 2005