OpEL >Policies

OpEL: Lab Policies and Student Orientation

Where is the OpEL?

  • The OpEL is located in room 219 of Whittemore Hall.
  • Weekend Lab hours - enter Whittemore with card swipe on east end of 2nd floor (under the bridge to Durham Hall)

Who should I contact about a problem in the OpEL?

  • Start with one of the OpEL GTAs.
  • Contact the lab manager if you need additional assistance.

Who should I contact about a problem with my lab kit, hardware, or circuit wiring?

  • Start with one of the OpEL GTAs.
  • Contact the lab manager if you need additional assistance.

Who should I contact if I have difficulty with lab calculations or using LTspice?

  • Start with one of the GTAs in 255 Whittemore
  • If the lab is not busy, the OpEL GTAs should be able to help.
  • Contact the lab manager if you need additional assistance.

What is expected of students?

  • Students should respect their fellow students and OpEL GTAs.
  • Students are responsible for navigating the OpEL webpage to find the information they need.
  • Students should attend class and read the assigned material.
  • Students should perform most of their work on projects at home.
  • Students who have made their best effort in an OpEL-supported course may come to the OpEL for help.
  • Students will be required to have their projects validated in the OpEL.
  • Students are expected to bring their own laptops and lab kits to the lab.
  • When the OpEL closes, leave the lab.
  • OpEL users are responsible for all items they bring into the OpEL.

How do I use the Lab queue?

After you are in the lab and ready to ask a question or validate a project:

  1. Click the Join or View the Lab Validation / TA Question Queue link
  2. Login with your VT PID/password
  3. Enter a Name for TA to Call in the box (any name - but keep the name civilized!)
    Use the drop-down menu to select your class
    Use the drop-down menu to select question of validate
    Use the drop down menu to enter your location (the GTA will look for you here first)
  4. Click the "Join Queue button"
    Note: The queue only allows one entry per PID. Once you are in the queue, you can't add another entry until the GTA deletes you from the list.
  5. The Queue List page will launch and you should see your entry in the list.
  6. When your name is called, you must be ready to ask your question or validate. If the GTA can not find you in 60 seconds, you will be deleted (and logged).

Can I schedule a validation time?

  • No. Scheduling has been attempted in ECE labs in the past, and it has failed miserably.

Can I log into the validation queue before I arrive in the lab?

  • No. If you are not ready when your name is called by the GTA, your name will be deleted and logged as a possible abuse of the queue system.

Can I bring drinks and/or food into the OpEL?

  • Liquids and electricity do not mix well. Food debris attracts insects (those huge cockroaches!).
  • You may bring items into the lab, but the containers must remain closed.
  • Consume food or drinks outside of the lab.
  • Place all trash in trash receptacles.
  • Place all recyclables in the recycle container in the hall.

What is expected of the GTAs? (See GTA Orientation)

Computer Security - what should I know?

  • GTAs should never use a student's computer. Students should never use a GTA's computer.
What resources does the OpEL provide?
  • An emergency phone is located in the hallway outside 234 Whittemore
  • OpEL GTAs will help a student in any OpEL-supported course.
  • OpEL GTAs provide first-tier hardware support for lab kits.

What help can I get in the lab for my experiments?

  • If you are stuck on something, the GTAs can help you solve your problem.
    • It is not appropriate for the GTA to figure out what is wrong with your circuit or measurement and tell you how to fix it.
    • Be able to tell the GTA what you know, what you do not know, what you are expecting to see/measure, and what you think the problem might be.
    • The GTAs may suggest a procedure, a wiring change, a measurement technique, or guide you in the right direction.
    • The GTAs WILL NOT DO THE LAB FOR YOU. They will not design your circuit for you, perform calculations, wire your circuit, or connect your meter or scope.
  • The GTAs may help you troubleshoot to determine if a kit component is bad.
    • The A&D board manual and test procedure is posted. You should be able to tell the GTA what you think is functioning, and what you think is not functioning on your board.
    • If a component, board, or scope is bad, the GTA will exchange the broken item for a replacement.

What are some known limitations of the OpEL?

  • A typical validation takes 5 minutes - if a student is prepared. Therefore, each Lab GTA may be able to perform 12 validations per hour. If a student waits until the last day or last hour, his or her project may not get validated by the deadline.
  • There are only 40 seats available in the OpEL to service approximately 600 students, enrolled in supported courses. Do most of your work at home.
  • GTAs have their own homework, projects, and tests. GTAs are paid only for assigned hours. Do not ask a TA to stay after the OpEL closes.
  • The OpEL is open according to the Schedule.

What if there is a fire, fire alarm, VT alert, or emergency?

  • If there is a fire or smoke, pull the fire alarm station near the elevator and evacuate the building.
  • If there is a fire alarm, exit the building immediately.
  • If there is a VT alert, follow the instructions issued in the alert.
  • If there is a medial emergency in or near the lab, call 911 and render first aid if you are able. Have someone wait outside the building to direct emergency personnel.
Lost and Found
  • There is no "Lost and Found" service in the OpEL.
  • OpEL users are responsible for all items they bring into the OpEL.
  • Inside the right door of cabinet in 219 - the bottom shelf may contain items left in the OpEL.
  • If realize after hours that you lost/forgot something valuable (such as a a calculator, scope, ANDY board, etc) in the lab,
    send an email to the lab manager. The lab manager will check the lab when he receives the email and secure your item if it is there.
    NOTE: The lab manager only has internet access and email 8AM - 5PM Monday through Friday.





Page updated: July 28, 2015