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A New Hands-on Laboratory Approach for Teaching Electromagnetic Concepts to Engineering and Engineering Technology Students

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Capstone/ET Projects I: Electrical and Computer Focus

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Jay R. Porter Texas A&M University

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Jay R. Porter joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in 1998 and is currently the Associate Dean for Engineering at Texas A&M University - Galveston. He received the BS degree in electrical engineering (1987), the MS degree in physics (1989), and the Ph.D. in electrical engineering (1993) from Texas A&M University. His areas of interest in research and education include product development, analog/RF electronics, instrumentation, and entrepreneurship.

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Anthony T. Cahill Texas A&M University

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Anthony Cahill is Director of First-Year Programs for the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He is also an associate professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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Ricardo Eusebi Texas A&M University

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Over a period of several years, the College of Engineering at XXXX has moved from admitting students directly into a major to admitting all freshmen engineering and engineering technology students into a General Engineering program with a common first year experience. The two primary goals of this change were to ensure that all students would have: the best chance for success in their entry-level math, science and engineering courses; and the opportunity to explore possible engineering majors before selecting one. An integral part of this freshmen experience was a lock-step sequence of engineering courses designed to expose the students to programming, engineering design, and the different engineering disciplines/careers available to them as well as to support learning in their engineering physics courses. While these courses have changed over the years as they were optimized, the final freshmen engineering courses sequence is now made up of three two-hour courses taken over three semesters. These include: • Engineering Lab I: Computation – This first course introduces students to the design and development of computer applications for engineers using the Python programming language. As a secondary goal, the course introduces students to the different engineering disciplines, ethics, design, and pathways to success in engineering. • Experimental Physics and Engineering Lab II : Mechanics - The second engineering course is designed to complement the first lecture-only physics course and includes laboratory assignments as well as the description and application of laws of physical motion to the solution of science and engineering problems. • Experimental Physics and Engineering Lab III : Electricity and Magnetism - The final course is designed to complement a lecture-only physics course on electromagnetism and electromechanical systems and includes laboratory assignments that uses sensing, control and actuation to demonstrate electromagnetic concepts. The Experimental Physics and Engineering Lab III course is a one lecture hour, three lab hour class and is currently being developed and taught for the first time during the Fall 2019 semester. The lecture contains topics designed to complement a first physics course on electromagnetics such as electric fields, magnetic fields, and electric DC and AC circuits as well as the application of these concepts to real-world engineering problems. In addition, the course also introduces data acquisition, microcontrollers and project management. The new laboratory component of the class is conceptually innovative and uses a newly developed three-axis positioning and data acquisition system that allows students to automate the sensing of electric and magnetic fields through the use of Python scripts. This paper will discuss the initial offering of the course, its learning objectives and the curriculum. In addition, the laboratory component will be discussed in detail including the actual experiments and the newly designed test and measurement system used by the students. Finally, a survey of student perceptions of the value of this new course to their learning experience will be presented.

Porter, J. R., & Cahill, A. T., & Eusebi, R. (2020, June), A New Hands-on Laboratory Approach for Teaching Electromagnetic Concepts to Engineering and Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34026

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