Labs - Lessons Learned from Shifting Online

Labs! Labs! Labs! How to deliver experiential programming online from University of Alberta instructors.

This is a summary of the Labs - Lessons Learned from Shifting Online webinar presented by University of Alberta in collaboration with E-Core. Four engineering instructors from UA presented their experiences running labs remotely this Spring.

What is E-Core

E-Core is a national collaborative initiative recently established by the Canadian Engineering Education Association in response to COVID-19. It makes sure that the remote engineering program delivery will maintain the standards of Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. They provide support and resources to engineering educators in the country. 

Case Studies

The webinar began with short presentations on the challenges and solutions on teaching lab courses remotely from each of the four presentors. The subjects range from ECE, Mechanical, as well as a hands-on design course. 

ECE Labs - Steven Knudsen

Steven is an industrial professor teaching ECE. He facilitates remote labs by distributing kitchen table labs. Its kit comprising of a Digilent Analog Discovery 2, DMM, breadboards and power supply can simulate labs. 

Lessons learned:

  • Remote debugging is difficult and time-consuming
  • Complex labs are not feasible
  • enlightened Ideas: step-by-step video demos, ad hoc online support from teaching team

Lab Videos - Calynn Stumpf

Calynn is an assistant coordinator for Instructional Laboratory, Safety, and Teaching in the Mechanical Engineering department. He encourages the production of engagin, consistent and high quality videos for asynchronous consumption. 

Lessons learned:

  • Know and adjust for the limitations of your equipment and personnel
  • Ideal length of a video is 8-20 minutes
  • enlightened Improve your audio quality: microphone, reduction of background noise and echo

ME Lab - Roberto Gallardo Bobadilla

Roberto is a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. He recently taught MecE 403 - ME Lab II, a mechanical engineering laboratory course. 

Lessons learned:

  • Student participation and group discussions are challenging online
  • Lab videos should always be accessible online
  • enlightened Things that worked well: good quality videos, online office hours

Hands-on Design - Abiy Wubneh

Abiy is a ME PhD candidate and a senior design engineer at Drader Manufacturing. He teaches MECE 260, a hands-on design course that typically involves building a vehicle prototype from scratch. 

Lessons learned:

  • Encouraging students to come up with their own solutions before introducing theories can help keep lectures engaging
  • Need to replace workshop hours with other experiential tasks
  • enlightened Consider: re-formulate the term project to relate to current events

Missed the Session?

Here are the audio recording and slides!

More E-Core and CEEA events can be here.


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Article Category: EdTech Events