UTA CARES Grant Program
Creation of this OER was funded by the UTA CARES Grant Program, which is sponsored by UTA Libraries. Under the auspices of UTA’s Coalition for Alternative Resources in Education for Students (CARES), the grant program supports educators interested in practicing open education through the adoption of OER and, when no suitable open resource is available, through the creation of new OER or the adoption of library-licensed or other free content. Additionally, the program promotes innovation in teaching and learning through the exploration of open educational practices, such as collaborating with students to produce educational content of value to a wider community. Information about the grant program and funded projects is available online.
This OER is designed for a junior-level lab in applied fluid mechanics (CE 3142) at UTA. The lack of standard material for the fluid mechanics laboratory course causes students to seek help from several textbooks in the subject area for the theoretical background of experiments, which costs them money and time; others seek out online resources for lab demonstrations. Even though free resources (e.g. lab manuals, videos, lab reports) are increasingly available on the Internet, they are too frequently inadequate and unreliable. This manual supports students by providing streamlined, vetted, and self-paced content, which frees students’ time and saves them money. The OER includes customized lab manuals, educational videos, and an interactive lab report preparation workbooks for ten fluid mechanics experiments. Each section includes theory, practical applications, objectives, experimental procedure, and post-experiment questions. Preparation of result tables and charts are automated within the workbook for each experiment to facilitate answering post-experiment questions and writing lab reports.
In Summer 2017, Dr. Habib Ahmari taught the Fluid Mechanics Lab at UTA for the first time. He found students struggling with lab manuals that were prepared by previous instructors. Despite the fact that laboratory courses are considered essential components of engineering programs, there are no standard textbooks available for such courses. The lab teaching materials are usually developed by lab instructors (as handouts) or lab equipment manufactures as instruction manuals. These types of course materials are narratives and do not match very well with the nature of these courses; thus students rarely make connections with them. After teaching the course for two semesters, Dr. Ahmari realized it was very difficult for students to visualize the experimental procedures by reading these narratives. He also noticed that some students would videotape him or teaching assistants demonstrating the experimental procedure for future references. These observations triggered the idea of developing an OER for the course.
Dr. Ahmari was awarded a UTA CARES Innovation Grant in 2018 to develop an OER to support transitioning the traditional Fluid Mechanics Lab to a media-rich, student-paced learning environment. Shah Md Imran Kabir (graduate student) and Andrew Czubai, Ankur Patel, Nicholas Sopko (undergraduate students) were recruited for this project. This dedicated team worked on this project during the summer to make sure the platform would be ready for implementation for Fall 2018. Creation of the OER project included five steps. The first step was to shoot eleven educational videos of the lab experiments. For this work, two groups of two students were formed. The first group assisted with preparing scripts for videos, demonstrating experiments in the Fluid Mechanics Laboratory of the Civil Engineering Department, and providing voice over of the video. The second group performed video recording, editing, and adding closed captioning. In the next step, lab manuals for ten lab experiments were developed by Dr. Ahmari and his graduate student, Shah Md Imran Kabir. The lab manual was reviewed by a professional editor to enhance the quality of the material. Next, the team prepared the necessary workbooks for each of the experiments that can be used by students to record their raw data as input. The result tables and graphs will be automatically prepared within the workbook as output. All components of this OER (i.e. lab manuals, videos, and report preparing workbooks) were shared with students enrolled in Fluid Mechanics Lab in Fall 2018 via Blackboard. In Summer 2019, the manual was published in Pressbooks with videos and workbooks embedded in the text.
About the Authors
Habib Ahmari, Ph. D., P.E. is an Assistant Professor of Instruction and the Director of the Learning Center in the Department of Civil Engineering at UTA. He has more than 15 years of industry, education, and research experience. He has developed and taught several graduate and undergraduate courses in the area of water resources engineering.
Shah Md Imran Kabir is a graduate student in the Department of Civil Engineering at UTA. He completed his B.Sc. in water resources engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He has 2 years of working experience in the water resources engineering industry.