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An Eet Program's Innovative First Semester Course In Electricity/Electronics

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.159.1 - 6.159.11

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Walter Banzhaf

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

Session 1547

An EET Program’s Innovative First-Semester Course in Electricity/Electronics

Walter Banzhaf

Ward College of Technology, University of Hartford


The EET faculty found in recent years that a large proportion of students entering our four-year baccalaureate programs in electronic, audio and music production technology had little background in technical aspects of electricity and electronics. Without this kind of experience, they appeared to lack the motivation to do well in the fundamentals courses (DC and AC circuit analysis, solid-state devices) which must be taken before students get to the “fun” courses involving amplifiers, oscillators, filters, etc. As a result, excessive time was needed in the fundamentals courses to cover basics, which resulted in some course topics either not being presented or learned adequately to promote success in more advanced courses. This problem was addressed by the creation of a new first-semester course, designed to give students some knowledge, some familiarity with terms and units, and a lot of motivation. An added benefit is that during their first semester students finish the first of four required math classes, so that they have mastered mathematical topics (e.g. simultaneous linear equations, logarithmic and exponential equations) before they are needed in the technical fundamentals courses which begin in the second semester. We also feel that retention will be improved because of both heightened student interest in the major and improved mathematical skills when the technical courses are taken. A description of this new course, including a detailed syllabus and examples of innovative laboratory experiences created for this course, are presented. The experiments are available, in PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format) at

I. Introduction

There is a growing awareness by faculty nationwide that students now entering technical disciplines lack the practical experience and technological literacy which students once had1,2, and our own classroom experiences at Ward College of Technology of the University of Hartford supported this perception. An EET faculty member at Old Dominion University3 “Strongly believes that students must make the connection between theory and application, and he finds that students understand theory best when it is applied to examples of technology that interest them, such as automobiles, computers, and electronic entertainment equipment.” An incoming survey of our first-year students revealed that few had ever soldered, used (or owned) a digital multimeter, or knew what a speaker impedance of 8 Ω meant (or why putting three such speakers in parallel could destroy an amplifier). We decided to address this problem by creating a new

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Banzhaf, W. (2001, June), An Eet Program's Innovative First Semester Course In Electricity/Electronics Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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