Hands-on courses in petroleum engineering improve performance

J. H. Abou-Kassem, M. R. Islam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Recent studies on engineering students show that engineering students retain very little in lecture-based. Hands-on courses were introduced in the United Arab Emirates University to integrate laboratory exercises with theory and principles. The traditional method that introduces lectures and laboratory classes separately can minimize training in the communication aspects and can lead to diminished creativity and lack-lustre presentation of theory. In contrast to this, the new courses emphasized "hands-on " student learning activities using state-of-the art equipment and software, and interactive self-learning by reducing the amount of formal lectures. For the petroleum engineering program, Properties of Petroleum Fluids and Reservoir Rock Properties were selected for conversion into the new methodology. In the teaching of these courses, the faculty member assumed the role of a manager of learning. In this format, the students were lead through a series of activities that enabled them to master fundamental concepts. The backbone of this process is to design hands-on laboratory activities in which students took measurements, and acquired, manipulated and interpreted data in experiments that demonstrate basic concepts. The unique feature of this methodology is the introduction of open-ended problems, creative design, and engineering discussion based on encouraging new ideas. The contents of the selected courses were structured as modules, each of which followed an interactive pattern in which the student was an active partner in the learning process. The interaction was ensured through a set of sequential events: Introductory Lecture, Prelab Presentation and Lab Preparation, Discove y Session, Discussion, and Problem Solving. Evaluation of the course achievements shows that the new methodology promotes the sense of engineering profession, encourages se&education, innovation, and enhanced communication skills. Eventhough students resisted the idea in the beginning, they became enthusiastic as they discovered that they were learning lot more than the conventional approach that separates the lecture-based class from the laboratory class. Students' ability to solve problems along with class participation improved drastically.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnical Meeting / Petroleum Conference of the South Saskatchewan Section 1999
PublisherPetroleum Society of Canada (PETSOC)
ISBN (Print)9781613991053
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Event8th Petroleum Conference of the South Saskatchewan Section, PETSOC 1999 - Regina, Canada
Duration: Oct 18 1999Oct 21 1999

Publication series

NameTechnical Meeting / Petroleum Conference of the South Saskatchewan Section 1999


Other8th Petroleum Conference of the South Saskatchewan Section, PETSOC 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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