Re-designing a junior-level materials processing laboratory course to aid students in applying theory to practice

Diane Folz, Christine Burgoyne, Janis Terpenny, Richard Goff

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A junior-level materials engineering laboratory course has been re-designed to broaden the experiences of undergraduates in areas such as teaming and collaboration, written and oral communication skills, problem solving and the engineering design process. The re-design also incorporates more modern ceramic engineering processing methods. It is anticipated that the redesigned course will better prepare students to succeed; the premise being that providing such learning opportunities sooner and more often will improve student knowledge and confidence in applying theory to practice. This paper reports on the re-designed course and its effectiveness in meeting the learning outcomes. The course is built on a prerequisite laboratory in which characterization methods were introduced through the evaluation of metals in a semester-long evaluation project. In the course under discussion, various processing methods were taught in the first few weeks, after which a seven-week design project based on one or more of these techniques was developed by teams consisting of three to five students. The problem presented to the students was to develop a project that illustrated the impact of processing on the properties of the materials. Teams were required to design both the technical and managerial aspects of the project. The teams were evaluated through the use of two written reports, periodic class presentations (evaluated by both the students and the instructor) and a final report prepared in the form of a journal paper. Student authors were given the opportunity to submit their manuscripts to the Journal of Undergraduate Materials Research (JUMR) for consideration. The assessment of individual student performance was in the form of quizzes, teammate assessment and class participation. In addition to assessing the impacts on student learning and engagement for the re-designed course, this paper also reports on future plans to conduct follow-on research to assess the impacts the re-designed course may have on the senior year capstone design experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2009
Event2009 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2009Jun 17 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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