Deakin University

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The old and the new : student perceived efficacy of electronics laboratory equipment

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ben HoranBen Horan, Matthew JoordensMatthew Joordens, Robynne HallRobynne Hall, Aleksandar Stojcevski
Undergraduate engineering students require exposure to an appropriate level of practical activities to complement the theory delivered in their course. This not only serves the purpose of catering to students’ different learning styles but in contributing to developing practical skills important to achieving an adequate level of job-readiness. The mode by which practical activities are implemented can vary widely across different units of study and different institutions. Electronics practicals within the School of Engineering at Deakin University have traditionally involved the construction and analysis of bread board circuits. Recently however, the practicals have changed to utilise modern computer-integrated Lab Volt FACET board equipment.

This paper discusses electronics practicals using two very different types of laboratory equipment and reports on student perceived efficacy. The aim of the study is to gain an understanding of student perceptions so as to be able to refine the practicals to increase student engagement.

Design / method
This paper discusses two very different types of laboratory equipment employed in electronics practicals within the School of Engineering at Deakin University. This study focuses on students in electronics-related engineering disciplines and their perceived efficacy of the different equipment with the aim of providing valuable insight regarding student engagement. Survey data was collected from first and second year students who had completed successive classes using the different types of laboratory equipment.

When compared with the electronics practicals and equipment previously used at Deakin University, the Lab Volt FACET boards provide a well-structured and resource efficient method for conducting practicals. The preliminary survey results indicate that there are mixed preferences for which type of laboratory equipment students perceive to be the better learning tool. The results also indicate that these perceptions appear to align with students in specific disciplines. These observations suggest that discipline specific characteristics of students are an important consideration in achieving improved student engagement and a positive learning experience.

The outcomes of the preliminary study suggest that there are discipline specific characteristics which affect students’ perceptions of the efficacy of laboratory equipment. These outcomes will assist Deakin’s School of Engineering to refine the use of the Lab Volt FACET board laboratory equipment to achieve improved student engagement. Future research will build upon these findings to investigate expectations of students in different disciplines and whether there is a difference in preferred learning and any correlation to student perceptions.



Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference : (24th : 2013 : Gold Coast, Qld.)


1 - 12


Griffith School of Engineering, Griffith University


Gold Coast, Qld

Place of publication

Gold Coast, Queensland

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2013, Australasian Association for Engineering Education


C Lemckert, G Jenkins, S Lang-Lemckert

Title of proceedings

AAEE 2013 : Proceedings of the 24th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference 2013

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