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Retrospective perceptions and views of engineering students about physics and engineering practicals

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Hands-on practical work in physics and engineering has a long and well-established tradition in Australian universities. Recently, however, the question of whether hands-on physics and engineering practicals are useful for engineering students and whether they could be deleted or whether these could be replaced with computer simulations has been raised, mainly due to cost-cutting exercises. In order to ascertain the usefulness of hands-on engineering practicals and first year practical physics classes to their engineering degree, a retrospective survey was carried out with third year engineering students. The general picture that emerges from the survey indicates that the majority of the students found hands-on physics and engineering practicals preferable to simulations on a computer and that practical work is useful not only for linking theory to practicals but also for gaining technical skills.

Keywords: engineering practicals; hand-on; physics practicals; simulations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Engineering,University of Western Sydney, PenrithNSW1797, Australia

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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