Lab-in-a-Box: Online Instruction and Multimedia Materials to Support Independent Experimentation on Concepts from Circuits
2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Introduction A project known as Lab-in-a-Box (LiaB) was developed in 2004 as one of the outcomes of a department-level reform within the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, addressing a need that was identified through student and employer surveys for concrete examples of fundamental concepts in electrical engineering. LiaB is a set of "hands-on" exercises in which students design, build, and test various d.c. and a.c. circuits using an inexpensive electronics kit, digital
... cs kit, digital multimeter, and a software oscilloscope. The experiments can be done anywhere and require significantly fewer resources than a traditional electronics lab. LiaB has received overwhelmingly positive comments from the students as well as from faculty members who have used the kits for projects in upper division courses at a four-year college as well as three community colleges, which were formerly lecture-only courses. A number of the major tasks in the National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Phase II grant, awarded in 2008, have been accomplished. These include publication of the 3 rd edition of a laboratory manual in 2009, 1 the development of online multimedia learning materials to support student experimentation outside of the classroom, 2-4 2,3 , 4 vodcasts on measurement techniques used in individual experiments linked directly to the lab report template, and the development of online classes for two circuits laboratory courses. 5 The first is a d.c. circuits course is designed for off-campus students and the second is a supplement to increase independent learning by students in the a.c. circuits course. The assessment of the learning materials and evaluation of the project has been initiated. An explanation of our pedagogical approach to the development of the online courses and the associated learning materials, a review of the initial evaluation and assessment results, and a discussion about the methods we are employing to disseminate the results of this project within our institutions and to the other community colleges within the state will be presented.