June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Electrical and Computer
For the United States to maintain a globally competitive advantage in an increasingly advanced technology-based society, science and engineering curricula must produce technically competent leaders, researchers, scientists, and engineers. No field is more important in this regard than semiconductor design and fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs). A state-of-the-art course sequence in ICs that produces technically-competent circuit designers must include exposure to real-world design experience. This paper describes a three-year study to introduce nine learner-centered instructional techniques into a two-course electrical engineering graduate course sequence in ICs targeted to real-world problems in industry, defense, and security. The study measures the student learning in this two-course sequence with the use of a pre-test/post-test teaching methodology and is carried out through a collaboration of Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate and the Air Force Institute of Technology. The participants in the study were officers at AFIT. Military graduates from AFIT become project managers in national organizations, technology leaders in defense organizations, and practicing engineers at institutions such as AFRL.
In recent years, considerable attention has been given to pretest-posttest knowledge gain assessment. Results presented in this paper demonstrate the effectiveness of a pre-test/post-test teaching methodology even when data is restricted to samples of small size. In addition to being an objective measurement of knowledge gain, this approach provides a framework for accurately assessing the influence of other factors on a student’s success. Results presented in this paper show that a statistically significant improvement was observed in the first course of the two-course sequence when the Diagnostic and Post-Diagnostic evaluation results were compared. Analysis of the final exam results for one course for Year 2 and Year 3 shows that there is statistically significant improvement in performance. This change is attributed to the improved teaching methodology presented in this paper.
Future work will build statistical models for identifying what causes students the most difficulty in learning, so that the education can be made more effective.
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