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A New Paradigm For Teaching Circuit Analysis

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.72.1 - 6.72.5

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Paper Authors

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Stephen Maybar

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Jerome Zornesky

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3547

A New Paradigm for Teaching Circuit Analysis

Stephen H. Maybar, Jerome Zornesky

Department of Electrical Engineering Technology Technical Career Institutes, New York City NY 10001


Traditionally, circuit analysis has been taught as a two-term sequence with DC circuit analysis in the first term and AC circuit analysis in the second. The normal two-term sequence may be shortened to a single term if DC and AC analysis are taught concurrently rather than consecutively. In the modified sequence, DC circuit analysis is considered as a special case of AC analysis in which the frequency of the sinusoid approaches zero. This results in a unified view of circuit analysis without the artificial separation of AC and DC analysis topics. In addition, the new unified approach results in a considerable savings of valuable curriculum time and, more importantly, an increase in comprehension. The new unified approach has been used at TCI where it has been taught for several years with great success. A textbook that uses this approach has been written by the authors of this paper and published by Prentice Hall.

I. Introduction

The rapid growth of new topics in electronics and computers has placed a stress on the Electrical Engineering Technology curriculum. A requirement to introduce important new subject material and concepts is forcing educators to either choose to eliminate older fundamental concepts or to limit the introduction of new concepts. In an effort to create space for new topics the old curriculum was examined to see how it might be recast to save time for new topics. Circuit analysis, with its normal two-term curriculum, contains many topics that are repeated twice- once for DC and once for AC. In an effort to teach this fundamental course in less time we devised an approach that allows us to teach AC and DC circuit analysis concurrently in a single course. The result has been a one-term six hours per week course that replaces the original two- term curriculum. Valuable time saved by this approach has been used for the introduction of new material.

II. The Program

Figure 1 below shows the typical structure of a two-term curriculum that may be used for teaching circuit analysis. It is derived from the 8th edition of Boylestad’s “Introductory Circuit Analysis” published by Prentice-Hall. The development of this book is along classical lines where first DC and then AC topics are discussed. When we look at the list of topics we see that almost half of the second term’s material is a repeat of the first term’s material recast in the AC format. While repetition is a useful teaching tool, we wondered if there was a way to restructure

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American society for Engineering Education

Maybar, S., & Zornesky, J. (2001, June), A New Paradigm For Teaching Circuit Analysis Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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