Utilization of the Instructional Laboratory to Impart Knowledge in the Affective Domain to Engineering Students

By Jennifer L. Johrendt and Derek O. Northwood.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Traditionally the purpose of engineering instructional laboratories has been to give students practical experience with tools based on theories and concepts that they have learnt in the lectures. Laboratories provide the opportunity to ‘learn by doing’. The knowledge imparted in these laboratories has been, to a large extent, in the cognitive domain. The importance of knowledge in the affective domain (behaviour and attitudes) is increasingly being recognized as engineering educators tackle the task of making a holistic engineer, that is, a graduate with the skills to work across intellectual, social and cultural boundaries. In this paper we describe how the experiential components of instructional laboratories can foster the development of skills in the affective domain of knowledge. These specific skills include teamwork, effective communication, ethics, safety, creativity and the ability to learn from failure.

Keywords: Affective Domain, Instructional Laboratory, Behaviour, Attitudes, Engineering Education, Experiential Learning

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.329-336. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 516.348KB).

Dr. Jennifer L. Johrendt

Experiential Learning Specialist, Department of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Johrendt obtained her Bachelor and Master's degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in 1992 and 1994 respectively. From 1996 until 2003 she worked as a product development engineer at DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc. in structural development at the University of Windsor DaimlerChrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre. There, she worked in the Road Test Simulation Laboratory performing full vehicle durability simulation, first as a test engineer and then as a group leader and trainer. She began her doctoral studies in Mechanical Engineering in 2003 and obtained her Ph.D. in September 2005. Her dissertation was entitled "Optimizing Road Test Simulation Using Neural Network Modeling Techniques". She is currently employed as an Experiential Learning Specialist in the Department of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering at the University of Windsor where she teaches both Mechanical and Automotive Engineering courses.

Dr. Derek O. Northwood

Professor, Department of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Professor Derek O. Northwood is University of Windsor Research Leadership Chair and Professor of Engineering Materials in the Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering Department at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In his 30+ years in academia, Professor Northwood has conducted extensive research in materials engineering resulting in over 250 publications in refereed international journals and over 200 papers in refereed conference proceedings. In the last ten years, he has been actively working in the Engineering Education field and in 2001 was awarded the UNESCO International Centre for Engineering Education Silver Badge of Honour for “distinguished’ contributions to, and the globalization of, engineering education.” Amongst his present interests is an examination of the role of the Social Sciences and Humanities in Engineering Education: Engineering = Science + Social Sciences + Humanities?


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