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A Breadth First Course in Electrical and Computer Engineering

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

New ECE Courses

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.16.1 - 24.16.17



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Paper Authors

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Constance D. Hendrix USAF Academy


Danial J. Neebel PE US Air Force Academy

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Dr. Danial Neebel, PE is as Associate Professor of engineering and computer science at Loras College. During the 2013-2014 academic year he serves as a Visiting Professor at the US Air Force Academy in the departments of electrical and computer engineering and computer science. His
research interests include digital system design and testing, computer architecture, and computer science

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Ryan Jay Silva U.S. Air Force Academy

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Building Student Intuition in Engineering and Computer Engineering AbstractAs technology continues to advance and competition within the global economy becomes fierce,it is increasingly important that engineering students can not only select the proper equations,perform the correct computations/simulations, build circuits correctly, but also possess anintuition of what is feasible and not feasible within their area of study by the time they graduate.In an effort to prepare electrical and computer engineering students, the Electrical and ComputerEngineering (ECE) Department created an introductory course to help students develop thismuch required intuition. Determining the course structure and outcomes required answeringseveral crucial questions: What knowledge and skills define an electrical or computer engineer?What depth of skills and knowledge should the student possess by the end of the course? Whatcritical engineering principles should students understand? Which types of systems do graduatestypically see? What knowledge is missing from the other courses in the current coursesequence?Thorough review of those questions revealed that the primary knowledge areas that the studentsneed exposure to are: the use of test equipment and simulation and modeling software; basicelectrical system design techniques; circuit construction techniques with both breadboards andsolder; and system level engineering design principles; 30,000 foot view of system categories(i.e., power, digital processing, radar, communication); and reverse engineering methods.Through exposure to these knowledge and skill areas, students can begin to develop the curiosityand intuition about how electrical systems work and in the process see the fun and excitement inelectrical and computer engineering.The delivery method of this course is similar to the ‘flipped-classroom’. The typical classsession starts a day or two before classtime with a reading assignment and homework problemsthat are due at the beginning of class. Lecture usually provides the big picture view of thereading and homework via demonstrations or lecture with time for student questions. The rest ofthe classtime is spent on a lab experiences. The lab experiences range from mathematicalmodeling or simulation of a system, to circuit construction, to circuit evaluation, to reverseengineering of a “black-box.”This paper delves into the development of the course, the course structure and student feedbackover three semesters. Distribution A, Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited

Hendrix, C. D., & Neebel, D. J., & Silva, R. J. (2014, June), A Breadth First Course in Electrical and Computer Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19908

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