Dobson, E.L., Hill, M. and Turner, J.D.
An evaluation of the student response to electronics teaching using a CAL package
Computers & Education, 25, (1-2), . (doi:10.1016/0360-1315(96)81766-0).
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A computer-based replacement for an existing electronics laboratory experiment has been created and tested on a sample of second year undergraduates. Their responses were assessed by questionnaire, and these show that CAL techniques do provide a viable means for teaching laboratory subjects. Computer simulation allows student learning to proceed at a pace which suits the individual. The system is available at any time, and can be used “out of hours”. Users are not inhibited by a fear of damaging equipment or components, and it was noted that this encouraged experimentation in a form which did not take place in the laboratory where “real” components were used. Students expressed a concern that they would not receive as much feedback from a laboratory supervisor. One of the intended advantages of CAL is to reduce the supervisor's workload. However, this was felt to be a misperception of the purpose of CAL sessions, since the removal of supervision was not contemplated. Formal timetabling allowed students to attend when advice and assistance were available, the difference between the CAL exercise and a traditional laboratory class is that the CAL software is also available at non-scheduled times. Complete replacement of all practical laboratory work by computer simulations was felt to be undesirable, by both the laboratory supervisors and the students.
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