A project to develop initiative and innovation through laboratory improvement

Sorin Cioc, Constantin Ciocanel, K. Cyril Masiulaniec, Douglas Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In an effort to cultivate initiative and innovative spirit, a new project was introduced in an undergraduate mechanical engineering laboratory, exemplified here by the Thermal Sciences Laboratory. In this project, each student lab group (typically a group of four) had to suggest improvements to a specific laboratory. There were no other imposed restrictions; improvements could be in any area, such as hardware, software, work procedure, technical presentation, and so on. By having the project run in parallel with the typical labs, several objectives were attained. First, students were exposed to the ideas of continuous innovation and product or process improvement. Second, being a group project, students were exposed to the practical aspects and important advantages of teamwork and brainstorming. Third, due to the latest innovations in technology and education, laboratory-based work is always in need of enhancement; students engaged in performing lab work are well positioned to understand the possible shortcomings, and thus propose improvements; each student should be able to have at least one contribution, ranging from very small to significant. Lastly, some of the best solutions can be followed by senior design projects in which the proposed improvements are further developed and implemented in the laboratory. This paper shows how the project was organized, and also presents results obtained during its first year of implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-325
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Brainstorming
  • Innovation
  • Teamwork
  • Thermal Sciences Laboratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Mechanical Engineering


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