Over the past two years, the Engineering Measurements Lab has attempted to increase the breadth and depth of course material introduced to students to allow them to design and perform successful experimental tests. Over that time, the following structural changes have been made to this course: (i) a single lecture contact hour per week was added, (ii) lab contact hours focus more on practical aspects of each lab, and (iii) the number of experiments run in the course has increased from four to seven. To reflect these changes, the course has grown from one credit to two credits. Material for each lab was delivered in a two-week cycle with a one-hour lecture and two-hour lab period every week. Each lab had one dedicated lecture and additional lectures were added to further emphasize broader topics including data acquisition, measurement uncertainty, and statistical analysis. In addition to the updated course content, the Toyota A3 report format has been adopted for all labs to expose students to a wider variety of tools for technical communication and to foster a spirit of creative and innovative problem solving. In keeping with the iterative nature of these reports, the general process for each lab involves multiple events with feedback from peers and instructors. During the week “A” lab period, students are introduced to the lab facility and perform an ungraded activity where they manually perform relevant calculations using a small subset of previously recorded data. They are then presented with a full set of previous data so they can perform relevant calculations and plot pertinent information. This prelab data exercise is submitted before the week “B” lab period. During the week “B” lab period, students run the laboratory to generate their own data set. A draft A3 report is then submitted prior to the following week “A” lab period. Students peer-review the draft A3 reports in lab before they perform the manual activity for the next laboratory. Final A3 drafts are due at 11:59 pm the following day. Lab topics for this course include characterization of (i) vortex tubes, (ii) vapor compression refrigeration, (iii) centrifugal pumps, and (iv) frictional pipe losses. New labs have been developed for this course examining (v) error propagation in measurement of complex geometries, (vi) measuring Poiseuille flow velocity profiles, and (vii) thermocouple calibration. This work will describe the changes made to this course over the past two years and discuss their suitability based on effectiveness and student satisfaction. Plans for future development of the course will also be discussed.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Originally presented at the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposistion 2015

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


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