best and worst of the labs

This week I asked the students a few questions.  I had a few objectives:

  1. Evaluate lab instructors (based on student’s comfort level coming into the Lab Final)
  2. Evaluate students comfort level coming into the Lab Final
  3. Evaluate the the perceived value of individual lab exercises based on student feedback.
Students were asked to answer the following questions:
  1. What lab section are you in?
  2. If the Lab Final was right now, are you ready?
  3. Which lab exercise was the biggest waste of time?
  4. Which lab exercise was the most valuable?
Well, out of 73 people registered for the class 38 passed in a card.  Batting 500 on attendance on what was possibility the nicest day of the year isn’t too bad since all of the lectures are videoed and posted about 2 hours after the end of class.

If the Lab Final was right now, are you ready?

I first sorted the responses by section then counted the responses to the 2nd question.  
Section Ready Not Ready % Ready
? 1 1 50%
1 5 3 63%
2 7 4 64%
3 6 2 75%
4 9 3 75%
Total 28 13 68%

What have I learned?  

  • Sections 2 and 4 have the most lecture attendees. 
  • Sections 3 and 4 are the most confidant.
  • 68% over all confidence level is disappointing. 
It will be interesting to compare this with the results of the lab final by the end of next week.  Since the intent of the lab final is that everyone get’s 100%.

Which Exercise was the

biggest waste of time?

most valuable?

Exercise # Votes Exercise # Votes
Measurement 9 Base 19
Base 4 Cylinder 3
Engraving 3 Engraving 2
Deflection 3 Choke 2
Turning Experiment 2 Part Probing 2
Choke 1 Deflection 1
Part Probing 1 Tool Probing 1
Loading NC Code 1 Lathe Exercises 1

What have I learned?  

I suppose I’m not really surprised by the results.  We’ve known that we need to do something about the measurement lab, and we hadn’t started to talk about measurement in class when this question was asked so there was really no tie in to the lectures and I think it takes too long.  I think we can teach some important concepts in this exercise but we aren’t really doing a good job of it yet.

On the value added side I was really fishing. I didn’t really have a candidate in mind.  Based on the specific comments written on the cards it makes sense that the base was the big winner.  I’m assuming that it was the combination of cam and machining that went together and the fact that the students had to apply the things they’ve already learned that made it popular.

Watch the video at

Not Your Dad’s Manufacturing

Over the summer we had a summer camp for 7th and 8th graders.  The idea was to see if we could get younger kids excited about the technology of manufacturing so when they are making choices later in life they might consider training and careers in manufacturing.

I wrote an article about it for the experience Next Generation Manufacturer News Letter

The camp by all accounts was a big hit and we are hoping to do a series of these kind of camps next summer.