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Digital experimentation for increased access

This learning and teaching innovation project was funded by the Teaching Development Fund (Seed) in 2021/22.

Project status



Project started on 1 Jul 2022

Project Leader: Nathan Sell, Mechanical Engineering

This project, which was awarded funding by the Teaching Development Fund (TDF) Seed, aims to focus on moving engineering experimentation further into the digital domain with the physical interface and presence of students being replaced with digital equivalents. Providing the following outcomes;

  1. Increased engagement from students in lab sessions.
  2. Reduction in staff hours to support lab sessions.
  3. Development of a framework for migrating other lab experiments in the future.

For undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD fluid power courses a number of test rigs are used in the 8E laboratory some of these are purely analogue, using gauges and paper and some are digital using sensors and various data acquisition platforms, but all require physical attendance in the 8E lab and physical interaction. This limits the number of students who can participate safely and has resulted in undergraduate labs needing to take place of two weeks with the possibility of this increasing to 3 weeks if course numbers were to continue increasing. It can also limit the involvement of students with access challenges or who may be unavailable at the scheduled time for medical or personal reasons. The conversion of one of the test rigs to allow for remote viewing and control can ease this burden. It will also allow for students to potentially repeat a lab if they discover problems with their data or which to gather extra data for analysis as the time commitment for staff is significantly reduced.

Dr Snell has reported back on the finished project, evaluation report available here