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A Pretest-Posttest Quasi-Experimental Study for a Game Intervention in an Undergraduate Wireless Communications Course

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

COED: EE Topics

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27501

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Joshua Alexéi García Sheridan Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9981-743X

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Joshua García Sheridan is a PhD student in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He received his Bachelor's of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His current research work include gaming and game-like interventions in engineering education and designing interactive educational tutorials for radio engineering, with research interests in explicitly mapping childhood stages of cognitive development to engineering knowledge and skills for K-12 curricula.

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Richard M. Goff Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

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Richard M. Goff is a former aircraft structural test engineer for the Navy, a Peace Corps Volunteer, and a computer entrepreneur. He holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Richard has been teaching and engaging in research in multidisciplinary engineering design education for over twenty years. Dr. Goff is the recipient of several university teaching awards, outreach awards, and best paper awards. His passion is creating engaging learning environments by bringing useful research results and industry practices into the classroom as well as using design research results to inform engineering practice.

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Carl B Dietrich P.E. Virginia Tech

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A licensed Professional Engineer in Virginia, Carl Dietrich earned a BS EE degree from Texas A&M University, and MS EE and PhD EE degrees from Virginia Tech. He has taught courses in software defined radio, communications systems, electronics, and electromagnetic fields. He has also taught short courses on software defined radio since 2007, covering fundamental concepts and enabling technologies in addition to the use of open source software to develop and run SDR applications. In addition, Dr. Dietrich has performed and directed research in the areas of cognitive radio, software defined radio (SDR), multi-antenna systems, and radio wave propagation, and has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. He has worked at Virginia Tech, Bell Northern Research, and the Defense Information Systems Agency. He has served as chair of the Wireless Innovation Forum's Educational Special Interest Group, is a member of ASEE and Eta Kappa Nu, Senior Member of IEEE, and an Extra class amateur radio operator.

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Vuk Marojevic Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Vuk Marojevic graduated from University of Hannover (MS), Germany, and Polytechnic University of Catalonia (PhD), Spain, both in electrical engineering. He joined Wireless@Virginia Tech in Summer 2013 as a Research Associate. His research interests are in software-defined radio technologies with application to 4G/5G cellular, UAV, and spectrum sharing, among others. Dr. Marojevic has been instructor of undergraduate and graduate level classes at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain, and Virginia Tech.

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Nicholas F Polys Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Nicholas F. Polys is Director of Visual Computing with Virginia Tech Research Computing Group and Affiliate Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science. He has developed interactive 3D graphic content and systems since 1998. His research interests lie at the center of graphics and Human Computer Interaction: the intersection of visualization, virtual environments, and perception. After his undergraduate research in Cognitive Science at Vassar College (1996), he jumped into the networked information space of the WWW developing audio, visual, and 3D assets and software. His doctoral work at Virginia Tech (2006) examined perceptual cues and layout behaviors for Information-Rich Virtual Environments for desktop to immersive platforms.

He is a member of ACM, IEEE Computer Society, and the Web3D Consortium. He is a co-author of the international standard (ISO) Extensible 3D (X3D), elected Director and President of the Web3D Consortium, and Chair of the Web3D User Interface Working Group.

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R. Michael Buehrer Virginia Tech

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Dr. R. Michael Buehrer joined Virginia Tech from Bell Labs as an Assistant Professor with the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2001. He is currently a Professor of Electrical Engineering and is the director of Wireless @ Virginia Tech, a comprehensive research group focusing on wireless communications. During 2009 Dr. Buehrer was a visiting researcher at the Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences (LTS) a federal research lab which focuses on telecommunication challenges for national defense. While at LTS, his research focus was in the area of cognitive radio with a particular emphasis on statistical learning techniques.

His current research interests include geolocation, position location networks, iterative receiver design, dynamic spectrum sharing, cognitive radio, communication theory, Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) communications, intelligent antenna techniques, Ultra Wideband, spread spectrum, interference avoidance, and propagation modeling. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Naval Research, and several industrial sponsors.

Dr. Buehrer has authored or co-authored over 50 journal and approximately 125 conference papers and holds 11 patents in the area of wireless communications. In 2010 he was co-recipient of the Fred W. Ellersick MILCOM Award for the best paper in the unclassified technical program. He is currently a Senior Member of IEEE, and an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Communications and IEEE Wireless Communications Letters. He was formerly an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technologies, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, and IEEE Transactions on Education. In 2003 he was named Outstanding New Assistant Professor by the Virginia Tech College of Engineering and in 2014 Dr. Buehrer won the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Award for Teaching Excellence.

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Abstract

The importance of preparing the next-generation workforce in engineering cannot be overstated. Undergraduate engineering education is vitally important to this venture and must undergo continuous improvements to meet dynamically changing needs in industry research and development. Of the many areas of engineering that benefit from pedagogical innovations, this study focuses on the context of teaching wireless communications.

Wireless communications is a dynamic field, responsible for advances in cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other technologies and systems using the wireless medium for communications. Engineers recruited by industry are expected to design new and innovative systems for wireless technologies as the field continues to expand in its applications, which include mobile devices, peripherals, and networks. This constantly changing and evolving industry in wireless communications requires undergraduate engineering students to learn more advanced engineering concepts. We argue that sophisticated principles can be effectively introduced at the undergraduate level. Current state-of-the-art technologies normally taught to graduate students are now being explored in undergraduate education, and novel methods of instruction are necessary to provide a scaffold for advanced learning at the undergraduate level.

To enhance learning as interactive decisional aids, serious games in education are proposed to better educate, motivate, and engage students. Games may also be used to acquaint students with machine thought in a robust manner. In this research, a game exploring wireless communication concepts is created. A quasi-experimental study is then performed to determine the effects of an intervention of access to a wireless communication concepts and interactive quiz game on student performance using numerically scored quizzes. This was implemented in a wireless communications course of 30 students in an undergraduate engineering program. Nonparametric comparative analyses are performed to determine the effect of the game intervention so as to answer the following research question: What is the change in student performances in an undergraduate communications course that uses a game intervention to deepen understanding of wireless topics in the course material?

García Sheridan, J. A., & Goff, R. M., & Dietrich, C. B., & Marojevic, V., & Polys, N. F., & Buehrer, R. M. (2017, June), A Pretest-Posttest Quasi-Experimental Study for a Game Intervention in an Undergraduate Wireless Communications Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27501

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