The overarching goal of this research is to improve conceptualization of System Dynamics and Controls concepts by incorporating a Web-facilitated curriculum to enable intercampus collaboration and remotely-accessible or virtual systems. This approach will complement lecture-based curricula and will strongly enhance students’ conceptualization and exposure to System Dynamics and Controls fundamentals by providing less restricted exposure to a variety of systems that encompass the more important Dynamic Systems concepts. The plan involves the development of a System Dynamics Concepts Inventory and the implementation and assessment of three Web-enabled laboratory formats: (1) inter-campus collaborative experimentation, (2) remotely-accessible experiments, and (3) virtual system experiments. Each format has its inherent advantages and disadvantages. Remotely-accessible experiments, for example, can be made more readily available to students outside of regular laboratory hours, but the lack of hands-on exposure limits the potential scope of the experiments. Each format has been preliminarily implemented using a variety of dynamics systems that reflect some of the more important fundamentals pertinent to System Dynamics. These activities are currently being incorporated into a laboratory course at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and a lecture course at the University of Texas - Pan American (UTPA). A preliminary Course Inventory is being developed in collaboration with faculty at both institutions. An initial assessment of each laboratory format has been completed. This paper reports on the findings including a detailed discussion of the development of the Course Inventory, a discussion of the pros and cons of implementing each format, and an evaluation of the impact of each format in addressing student conceptualization of a few key fundamentals.


First published in Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Conference. © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education.


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J. A. Kypuros and T. J. Connolly, “Collaborative Experimentation and Simulation: A Pathway to Improving Student Conceptualization of the Essentials of System Dynamics and Control Theory,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, pp. 1855-1864, Portland, OR, June 12-15, 2005.