June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
NSF Grantees Poster Session
24.132.1 - 24.132.14
ACTIVE ANALOG CIRCUIT DESIGN: LABORATORY PROJECT AND ASSESSMENTA course on the principles of analog circuits is fundamental in the early part of an Electrical andComputer Engineering curriculum. It is very important that undergraduate teaching of analog circuits berigorous, involve a laboratory component and stimulate student interest. A long standing debate is on howto get students more interested in circuit theory and simultaneously comprehend and apply the basicconcepts. Project-based learning has been shown to increase student interest, basic design skills andcomprehension of the concepts in basic engineering and mathematics through vertical integration.This paper describes a project on active circuits that is performed at three universities (a state university, aprivate university and an HBCU). The project has been formulated such that it can be taught at anyuniversity that has a course that covers the basic laws of circuit theory, introduces passive and activecircuits, teaches the appropriate mathematical techniques and has a hands-on laboratory component. Theproject incorporates circuit design, analysis and testing. The circuits covered include an invertingamplifier, noninverting amplifier, differentiator, integrator and a practical differentiator which isinterpreted as a filter.The student learning outcomes of the project include: • Enhanced circuit design, analysis and testing skills. • Enhanced awareness of the applications of operational amplifiers. • Enhanced comprehension of concepts in circuit theory. • Enhanced application of math skills • Enhanced software implementation skills • Enhanced communication skills • Comprehension of the importance of vertical integration in that students realize that their experiences are part of a flow that contributes to a unified knowledge base.The assessment results are performed at all three universities and compared. The assessment instrumentsinclude: • Student surveys (target versus control group comparison that includes a statistical analysis) • Faculty tracking of student learning outcomes based on student work • Faculty evaluation of student work based on significant rubrics • A concept inventory testThe active circuits project has achieved many learning outcomes, contributed to STEM knowledge andgiven the students a perception of the usefulness of vertical integration. The fact that the project can besuccessfully disseminated anywhere is evident from it being performed at three universities. Studentsanalyze and test different active circuits, do a simple design for a noninverting amplifier, understand theconcepts of a transfer function and frequency response and investigate input-output behavior of a practicaldifferentiator. A variety of assessment instruments are used to show the success of students acquiring bothSTEM knowledge and specific skills.
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