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A Novel Introductory Course For Teaching The Fundamentals Of Electrical And Computer Engineering

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

ECE Curriculum Innovations

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

11.90.1 - 11.90.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/803

Download Count

35

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Paper Authors

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Lisa Huettel Duke University

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LISA G. HUETTEL, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Laboratories in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. She is interested in engineering education and the application of statistical signal processing to remote sensing. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Duke University.

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April Brown Duke University

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APRIL S. BROWN, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. Her research is focused on the synthesis and design of nanostructures to microelectronic devices. She received her M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.

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Leslie Collins Duke University

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LESLIE M. COLLINS, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. Her research interests lie in physics-based statistical signal processing with applications in remote sensing and auditory prostheses. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering: Systems from the University of Michigan.

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Kip Coonley Duke University

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KIP D. COONLEY, M.S., is the Undergraduate Laboratory Manager in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His interests include undergraduate engineering education, power electronics, plasma physics, and thin-films. He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Dartmouth College.

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Michael Gustafson Duke University

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MICHAEL R. GUSTAFSON II, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests include linear and non-linear control systems as well as curriculum development. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University.

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Jungsang Kim Duke University

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JUNGSANG KIM, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests include quantum information science, photonic devices, micro and nano fabrication technologies, and MEMS technologies. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

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Gary Ybarra Duke University

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GARY A. YBARRA, Ph.D., is a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests include K-12 engineering outreach, engineering education, microwave imaging and electrical impedance tomography. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University.

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

A Novel Introductory Course for Teaching the Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Abstract

The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at Duke University is undergoing extensive curriculum revisions incorporating both new content and organization and innovative teaching methods. The cornerstone of the new curriculum is a theme-based introductory course entitled Fundamentals of ECE. To introduce students to the major areas of ECE in their first year of study, this course has been organized around three concepts: 1) how to interface with the physical world, 2) how to transfer/transmit energy/information, and 3) how to extract/analyze/ interpret information. Other goals include illustrating how various areas of ECE contribute to the design and functioning of an entire system, emphasizing the relevance of course material to real- world applications, and capturing the students’ imagination and creativity. To achieve these goals, the course adopts a unifying theme, tightly couples lecture and laboratory exercises, and includes a laboratory experience that emphasizes design, integration, and real applications. The course content and laboratory exercises were developed iteratively such that each component supported the other, rather than one being dominant and driving the other. A robotic platform was selected as the foundation of the laboratory experience. This platform enables the exploration of a broad range of ECE concepts, both independently and integrated into an entire system, is flexible, to encourage creative solutions, is capable of being applied to real-world challenges, and is easily connected to the curricular theme. This paper describes the curricular objectives and key course elements which guided the development of this course, the process by which the course was created, and the resulting content and structure.

1. Introduction

1.1 ECE Curriculum Redesign

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University is undergoing a comprehensive curriculum redesign. Large-scale planning and development for the new curriculum has been conducted in earnest since early 2003. Before the redesign began, assessment of the existing curriculum identified six areas for improvement including: 1) a need to provide a coherent, overarching framework that integrates basic principles of ECE to serve as a roadmap through the curriculum, 2) a need to provide more guidance, through earlier, broader exposure to ECE, to assist students in the selection of technical areas of concentration, 3) a need for a more balanced coverage of fundamental areas of ECE, 4) a need for more flexible areas of concentration requirements, 5) a need to broaden design course opportunities, and 6) a need to better integrate the use of computational tools. To meet these needs, the overall structure of the curriculum has been redesigned around the theme of Integrated Sensing and Information Processing (ISIP). A theme-based curriculum facilitates the linkage of ECE topic areas to each other and to real-world challenges. Additional goals include incorporating innovative pedagogical techniques and hands-on experience throughout the curriculum while maintaining curricular flexibility1.

Huettel, L., & Brown, A., & Collins, L., & Coonley, K., & Gustafson, M., & Kim, J., & Ybarra, G. (2006, June), A Novel Introductory Course For Teaching The Fundamentals Of Electrical And Computer Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/803

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015