An interactive web-based experiment was designed as a preparation tool for students in the Materials and Mechanics Laboratory course at Texas Tech University. In the web-based experiment, the students were given an introduction to the concept of hardness, what it means, how it is measured, and the calibration and utilization procedure using a Rockwell tester. Two sections (eight groups) of the class were exposed to lecture but not to the virtual experiment and one section (three groups) was exposed to both lecture and the virtual experience. Each group was given a pre-lab quiz to assess their understanding of the concepts and objectives of the experiment. The groups exposed to the virtual lab were also given a short quiz on the procedure of the experiment. The pre-lab quizzes were graded without prior knowledge of the students' section or group affiliation. Grades were compared between groups that were exposed to both the lecture and the virtual laboratory and those groups who were only exposed to the lecture. The average grade of the students in the lecture and virtual laboratory groups was approximately 20% higher than the lecture alone group with a p-value of 0.007 based on a t-test. The average grade on the knowledge of the procedure prior to actual experiment for the lecture and software groups was 75 on a 100 basis. Also, these students showed a great understanding of the hands-on procedure without significant input from the instructors. The lecture only groups did not have a good idea of the procedural steps and required significant guidance from the instructor. This research shows that the virtual lab can be an effective tool in preparation of the students for the actual experimental tasks in a laboratory environment. In this paper, the design of the software, important elements of the virtual lab and the evaluation results will be presented.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings|
|State||Published - 2004|
|Event||ASEE 2004 Annual Conference and Exposition, "Engineering Researchs New Heights" - Salt Lake City, UT, United States|
Duration: Jun 20 2004 → Jun 23 2004