June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Electrical and Computer
A project-based course commonly requires that students solve problems based on knowledge and skills acquired from previous course work. However, even during the early years of study, students can develop a better intellectual independence when they have the opportunity to learn how to discover theory through design. Project-based courses increase the motivation, self-confidence of students, their level of resilience and leads to better retention rates. This paper describes an innovative, early project-based course recently developed and implemented in the 3rd semester of the computer engineering program at DigiPen Institute of Technology for embedded systems design. The main objectives of the course are for students to identify authentic engineering problems, select one and characterize it to propose a solution through the design, implementation and testing of an embedded system of their own. They are expected to apply knowledge from prerequisite and concurrent courses, learn how to do research and document all their work via written technical reports. Furthermore, they acquire practice and theoretical understanding through design and implementation.
In this course students are required for the first time to complete a full design for a project of their own instead of only fulfilling a design component of a project. They must achieve a basic electronics development cycle within one semester: inception, research, design, implementation and prototype testing. The semester project culminates with a demonstration of the system and a poster presentation.
In our paper, we describe the computer engineering program at DigiPen Institute of Technology , the 2nd year course, the methodology implemented including examples of the projects proposed by students and analyze the successes and limitations of the project-based course. We have observed that students gain confidence in their theoretical knowledge after completing the course, they get more involved in engineering projects and they feel more technically competent. Students agree that this course helps them practice and improve the ABET Student outcomes. We assess their technical and soft skills using different rubrics and also compare the grades with results from subsequent years. Even when the course has been recently developed, we find that there is a trend between the grades of different courses. The tendency shows that if students are proficient in this project course, they will do better in further theoretical courses.
Villarreal, B. L., & Thomas, J. N., & Hassard, C. (2019, June), A Second-Year Project-based Course for Embedded Systems Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/31991
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