A Problem-Based Laboratory (PBLab) Model for an Electrical Engineering Program

A Problem-Based Laboratory (PBLab) Model for an Electrical Engineering Program

Naziha Ahmad Azli (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia), Nur Ayuni Shamsul Bahri (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia), Narina Abu Samah (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia) and Norhafizah Ramli (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1809-1.ch006


A problem-based laboratory (PBLab) has replaced the conventional instructional based laboratory in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) since 2007. The 4th Year Electrical Engineering Laboratory is part of the curriculum of the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) program known as the SEE program. The initiative to replace the conventional 4th year laboratory was derived from various issues including feedbacks obtained from former students, industry, and the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) that evaluated the program in 2005. This chapter presents an implementation model of a problem-based laboratory (PBLab) that was established as one of the core courses in the SEE program and has been running for the past four years. The preparations made as well as the tools developed to support the implementation of the PBLab will be the main points of elaboration in the chapter. This is followed by description of the of the PBLab model in terms of laboratory conduct, facilitation, activities, and evaluation criteria. Analysis on the performance of students who had undergone the PBLab, particularly, the acquisition of generic skills is included. Finally, examples of feedbacks from the students are highlighted as these are the indicators to measure the level of acceptance towards the overall implementation of the PBLab.
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Pblab Chronology

The PBLab history goes back to 2003 when 4th Year Laboratory Coordinators were instructed to propose a laboratory structure for a new four-year Electrical Engineering degree program to commence in the 2004/2005 academic year. The PBLab structure was presented and later approved for implementation by the Faculty Academics as well as the Administrative Committees at the end of 2003. The main factor that contributed to the introduction of this PBLab was that it complied with the requirements set by the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC). The council is a body appointed by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) to primarily set policies, provide approvals and accreditation evaluations of engineering degree programs offered in Malaysia (Engineering Accreditation Council, 2007). The Engineering Program Accreditation Manual 2007 states that “For a 14‐week semester (not including examination or mid‐term break), one credit hour is defined as: two hours per week of laboratory or workshop”.

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