Development of software to improve learning and laboratory experience in materials science

Javad Hashemi, Katherine A. Stalcup, Edward E. Anderson, Adam Majkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The laboratory experience is a major component of any engineering program. The laboratory course is used to give students hands-on experience in verifying some of the major theoretical or physical concepts that they have used throughout their student careers. The knowledge gained in a laboratory courses usually leaves a lasting impression on students as related to experiential learning concepts. However, from a practical point of view, there are many factors that could hinder the effectiveness of the laboratory experience. Some of these factors are i) lack of familiarity of many students with procedure, ii) equipment availability and procedure, and iii) lack of experience with objectives and the expected outcome of the experiment. The purpose of this paper is to present the use of an interactive virtual laboratory experience that could provide a road map to the procedure, objectives, and expected outcome of an actual experiment. All normal laboratory functions such as following procedures, using equipment, making measurements, and performing analysis of data are performed in a virtual environment. Features such as a decision tree are built into the software to allow the student to make decisions (correct and incorrect ones) and observe the result of their decisions. The important features and the pedagogical techniques used in the developed software are presented. Initial response of the students exposed to this software, which has been positive, is also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8503-8510
Number of pages8
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2003
Event2003 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Staying in Tune with Engineering Education - Nashville, TN, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2003Jun 25 2003


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