Improving Student Laboratory Experiences through Integration of Instructions, Worksheets, and Computer Code using LiveScripts
ASEE 2022 Annual Conference Excellence Through Diversity
At Kettering University, senior mechanical engineering students take a course in modeling of dynamic systems with an accompanying lab course. This lab course focuses primarily on modeling and simulation, using MATLAB/Simulink software. In a typical lab exercise, students have a set of instructions, questions to answer about their process and results, and often a “starter file” for their code. With the creation of MATLAB’s LiveScripts, it has become possible to add equations, diagrams, and other items into the script files themselves, allowing for the possibility of creating a single document for the instructions, starter file, and questions which the students would use in their lab exercises. This single-document process was introduced in the 2021-22 academic year, with the goal of improving the student experience in lab, and has been used in five sections of the lab, taught by three different instructors. Instructor observations were collated and students were asked to fill out an anonymous survey in order to determine the degree to which it does or does not improve student experiences in the lab. While there is some instructor time required to convert previously existing lab exercises into this format, the creation of new lab exercises is no more time-consuming than it would have been. The data indicates that the single-document lab format is beneficial, with the primary benefit being reduction of time to complete the lab. Other benefits to students include less likelihood of forgetting a task, lower probability of forgetting to upload a document, and increased value when reviewing labs later.
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2022
Peters, Diane L. and Nash, Austin, "Improving Student Laboratory Experiences through Integration of Instructions, Worksheets, and Computer Code using LiveScripts" (2022). Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Presentations And Conference Materials. 97.