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An Electrical Systems Course In A General Engineering Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Course Innovation

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.205.1 - 12.205.13



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Paper Authors


Jason Yao East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Jianchu (Jason) Yao received a B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Shaanxi university of Science and Technology, China, in 1992 and 1995, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 2005. Dr. Yao joined East Carolina University as an Assistant Professor in August, 2005. Prior to this appointment, he served as a Research Engineer in China from 1995 to 2001. His research interests include wearable medical devices, telehealthcare, bioinstrumentation, control systems, and biosignal processing. His educational research interests are laboratory/project-driven learning and integration of research into undergraduate education. Dr. Yao is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education.

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Loren Limberis East Carolina University

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Loren Limberis is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at East Carolina University. Prior to joining ECU, he was a faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The College of New Jersey. He received both his BS degree in Electrical Engineering and PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Utah. His research interests include the study of motor protein motility mechanisms and the incorporation of motor proteins and their associated tracks into bio-hybrid microdevices and systems.

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Paul Kauffmann East Carolina University

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Paul Kauffmann is Professor an Chair of the Department of Engineering at East Carolina
University. Prior to his academic career , he worked in industry where he held positions as Plant Manager and Engineering Director. Dr. Kauffmann received a B.S. Degree in Electrical
Engineering and MENG in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D.
degree in Industrial Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and is a registered
Professional Engineer.

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

An Electrical Systems Course in a General Engineering Program: Experience and Lessons Abstract

General engineering programs, by their nature, require a curriculum covering a broad range of material from multiple engineering disciplines. Individual courses must support the outcomes of the program and sufficient coverage of topics is critical for the success of the program and the students. The challenge in key topical areas is to balance the conflict between the limited available time and the breadth and depth of topics. One topical area is electrical systems, which encompasses electrical engineering concepts for the general engineer. Required topics for an electrical systems course could include basic circuit concepts, electronic devices, digital logic, power, electric machines, and often instrumentation and controls. The decision for which topics will be chosen and developed for a compact electrical engineering course in a general engineering program requires thorough understanding of the program and careful planning. This paper describes the planning and initial delivery experiences of a circuit analysis course in a newly-established general engineering program. The paper relates the program mission with the curriculum structure and how the circuits course builds a foundation for advanced topics and concentration areas such as bioprocess engineering. The paper also examines the valuable lessons learned from the impact of prerequisite knowledge on topic selection, math/science requirement, and laboratory activities. Encountered difficulties and opportunities are identified and improvement plans are described.

I. INTRODUCTION Some universities offer general engineering programs to help students who are “fundamentally interested in becoming engineers but are not ready to select one of the engineering degree programs”. [1] After finishing the required courses by the program, students choose an engineering discipline to continue their degree program. A few universities offer a Bachelor’s degree in General Engineering. However, the definitions of “General Engineering” in such programs are vague and vary. The following two definition statements attempt to explain the term: Definition 1: “General Engineering is unique because it includes a variety of engineering fields. This field of study helps make a well-rounded engineer and gives opportunities to become a strong leader and decision maker with practical engineering abilities.”[1] Definition 2: “A professional in general engineering uses the principles of math and science to solve technical problems. For example, a professional with a general engineering degree may be involved in the design of computers, helicopters, toys, and robots used in manufacturing. Knowledge of general engineering is also required to build viable structures like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and used to determine the safest slope of an exit ramp from a highway.”[2] It is apparent that the lack of a consistent definition makes general engineering curriculum development challenging. The curricula have an “arbitrary” quality since no commonly- accepted logic and guidelines exist. Faculty creating general engineering programs have to extensively rely on personal understandings and experiences. This challenge is particularly true

Yao, J., & Limberis, L., & Kauffmann, P. (2007, June), An Electrical Systems Course In A General Engineering Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1650

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