Laboratory improvement: A student project to develop initiative and innovation as a permanent state of mind

Sorin Cioc, Constantin Ciocanel, K. Cyril Masiulaniec, Douglas Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This work presents a student project for an undergraduate mechanical engineering laboratory, exemplified here by the Thermal Sciences Lab. In this project, as part of the final grade, each student lab group (typically a group of four) had to conceive and offer improvements or better ways to do a specific laboratory. There were no other imposed restrictions, meaning that the improvements could be in any area, such as hardware, software, work procedure, technical presentation, etc. By having the project running in parallel with the labs several objectives were attained. The first objective was related to the fact that our department recognizes that, especially in today's globalscale competitive market, seeking innovation and spotting opportunities is essential for engineers; therefore students should be exposed as much as possible to the ideas of continuous innovation and product or process improvement. Second, being a group project, students were exposed to the practical aspects and important advantages of collaboration and brainstorming. Third, due to the latest innovations in technology and education, laboratory based work is always in need of enhancement; students engaged in performing lab work are well positioned to understand the possible shortcomings, and thus propose improvements; each student, according to his or her own ideas and experience (such as experience gained during the coop program), should be able to have a contribution, ranging from very small to significant, to at least one of the labs he/she was exposed. Lastly, best solutions can be followed by senior design projects in which the proposed improvements are further developed and implemented in the laboratory. This paper shows how the project was organized in our department, and also presents some of the most significant results obtained during its first-year implementation. Based on the positive results obtained, it was used again in the subsequent semester, and most likely will be used in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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