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An Innovative Electronics Laboratory System For On Campus And Distance Learning Applications

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

ECE Online Courses, Labs and Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.179.1 - 9.179.22

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Paper Authors

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Genevieve Sapijaszko

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Carlo Sapijaszko

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

Session 2432

An Innovative Electronics Laboratory System for On Campus and Distance Learning Applications

Carlo Sapijaszko, Genevieve I. Sapijaszko

Thomson Delmar Learning, DeVry University


The eTCB, a custom-built trainer board that works in concert with National Instruments’ NI ELVIS1 (Electronics Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite) and a personal computer, is a solution for students who need to perform laboratory experiments, whether at a distance or on campus. This solution offers students the convenience of purchasing a laboratory manual and a custom-built eTCB (electronics training circuit board), which are designed to offer a complete set of laboratory experiments in DC and AC circuit analysis and design courses. The lab manual and eTCB form a complete package that does not require students to add extra components. The eTCB was designed in such a way as to replace the functionality of a traditional breadboard, with the concept of a configurable circuit.

Well-chosen configurable circuit blocks have been embedded in the eTCB, and the connections between the various circuit blocks are made with relays driven by software. With NI ELVIS seamlessly integrated into this solution, students have access to an array of instruments, including a DMM, an Oscilloscope, a Function Generator, a Variable Power Supply, a Dynamic Signal Analyzer, and more. This solution ensures that students can perform laboratory experiments with real components, manually measure real electrical quantities, and work with industry-standard designs. Students perform experiments in a self-guided environment. In this environment, students receive immediate, critically important feedback regarding their work. Since this solution is software-centric, once a student performs a measurement a computer compares it with conditions defined by the author of the experiment. At this point a guiding message is rendered back to the student. This message offers students the information regarding the accuracy of the measurement and, if necessary, suggestions for corrective actions to obtain an accurate measurement. Monitoring computers can remotely observe the experiment activities that students are engaged in via the Internet. The combination of relatively low cost for the complete laboratory solution, an innovative self-guided approach for students to perform experiments, and the ability to remotely monitor student activity makes this an ideal solution for both on-campus and distance learning. Additional eTCB modules are being developed in an effort to build a complete set of laboratory experiments for the undergraduate curriculum. Those modules will include laboratory content for electronic devices, digital electronics, electronic communications, electronic control systems, and more.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Sapijaszko, G., & Sapijaszko, C. (2004, June), An Innovative Electronics Laboratory System For On Campus And Distance Learning Applications Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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