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A Teaching Module For The Nyquist Stability Test Using Cooperative Learning

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ECE Education and Engineering Mathematics

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.132.1 - 8.132.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Leland

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

A Teaching Module for the Nyquist Stability Test Using Cooperative Learning

Robert Leland Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Alabama Box 870286 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487


We describe a three-class instructional module using cooperative learning to teach the Nyquist stability criterion in an undergraduate controls class. This effort brings modern educational methods, specifically cooperative learning, into a mainstream engineering course. The Nyquist criterion was selected since it is typically the most difficult topic for students in control systems. The module consists of PowerPoint slides for the lectures, an instructor’s guide, in-class group exercises, and home assignments. The module was assessed by instructor observations, a post-module quiz, student questionnaires and comparison of student exam performance with previous classes.

1. Introduction

Modern teaching techniques, such as cooperative learning, hold great promise for increasing the effectiveness of engineering education by improving student’s comprehension, thinking skills, motivation, retention of information. Cooperative learning is seen by many as a means to increase student retention. Cooperative learning, when used with both group rewards and individual accountability has been shown to increase student learning1. Cooperative learning in Engineering has been seen to improve student attitudes toward learning, student motivation, and the classroom environment2, 3 . Much work has been done to integrate cooperative learning into the first two years in the NSF sponsored Foundation Coalition (FC) and similar programs. The work described here is part of a multicampus, multidisciplinary effort of the FC to integrate cooperative learning into mainstream junior and senior level engineering courses.

Our goal was to integrate cooperative learning into the typical senior level Control Systems course, covering classical control analysis and design using frequency domain and root locus methods. One of the most difficult topics in this class is the Nyquist stability criterion, so this topic was chosen for a three 50-minute class teaching module utilizing cooperative learning.

2. Description of the Course

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Leland, R. (2003, June), A Teaching Module For The Nyquist Stability Test Using Cooperative Learning Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11376

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