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Instructional Lab I Project Details

Project Overview

The Strength of Material’s course at UC Merced has a lab component to it, and our aim is to provide educational computer based tools to help enhance the students’ learning. We aim to provide additional resources, and also ensure that our labs are simple to understand on both the teaching assistant and student’s perspective.

The IL1 team focused on the Matlab Coding Lab and Tensile Testing Lab. Over the course of this project, two computer based labs have been created, tested and refined for the use in the Strength of Material’s course. Our team worked together with our community partner, Instructional Lab, to address the lack of simulations for physical experiment results and outline their needs.

The overarching mission of this project is to provide students in the Strength of Materials course with an environment in which to perform their experiments, and more generally, to facilitate the learning process. Our mission aligns with that of the community partner in that we intend to improve the teaching effectiveness of the labs in the Strength of Materials course.

Current Status

The lab deliverables were produced on time, during the week of November 30th. The first portion of the semester was devoted to communication with previous teams and cataloging the project’s materials. This created an improved organization in box.

The first major task completed during the semester was stress testing one on each of the labs. These tests produced internal reports allowing us to understand the limitations of each of the labs. The final lab can be seen here: Lab 1

The next major task completed was editing of the lab manuals and lab code for both the Tensile Strength and Matlab labs. These edits were created to increase user friendliness and overall readability. The edited manuals can be found here: Lab 2

The final major task completed during the semester was testing of the labs with both students and TAs. These tests produced surveys allowing feedback to be garnered on the changes, and whether they improved the labs.