Practice Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


Laboratory activities are an essential part of an undergraduate engineering education. This paper focuses on evaluating the student experience of laboratory activities. We present a laboratory-specific survey used with large cohorts of students (200) about laboratory activities across an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering degree programme. The key question we try to answer is whether the results of the survey can be used to inform teaching decisions such as which activities need improvement; how to improve them; and to validate these interventions.

We present nine common questions that were used to evaluate activities across a programme. We present five years of data for five of the activites we assess – specifically those from the first year of the programme. The data covers prepandemic, lockdown, and post-lockdown periods. The data includes activities that have remained consistent, and activities where changes have been implemented.

For consistent activities, data show good repeatability, adding confidence to the method. The effects of interventions can also be detected. We define a significant change as being a multiple of the standard deviation, across years, when no interventions were used. We discuss the validity of the survey and conclude that, in practical terms, it is useful for informing teaching decisions.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.