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An Optimized Approach For Teaching The Interdisciplinary Course Electrical Engineering For Non Majors

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.196.1 - 10.196.12



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Paper Authors

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Kedmon Hungwe

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Seyed Zekavat

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Sheryl Sorby

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

An Optimized Approach for Teaching the Interdisciplinary Course Electrical Engineering for Non Majors1 Seyed A. (Reza) Zekavat+, Kedmon Hungwe++ and Sheryl Sorby† + Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan Tech University, Houghton MI 49931, E-mail: ++ Dept. of Education, Michigan Tech University, Houghton MI 49931, E-mail: † Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Tech University, Houghton MI 49931, E-mail:


This paper introduces plans for an optimized curriculum and teaching approach for the interdisciplinary service course Introduction to Electrical Engineering for all non-EE majors at Michigan Technological University. The curriculum optimizes the current 3-credit service course by addressing: (1) the general needs of all majors through in-class lectures and lab experiments, and (2) special needs of all majors by designing a web-based teaching and lab system. In order to specify the general and special needs of non-EE majors and form an overall curriculum for them, a survey was designed and distributed to universities and industry. Faculty members, students and industrial personnel responded to the survey. This work presents an analysis of the survey and describes a preliminary overall curriculum for this course.

1. Introduction It is generally recognized in the academic environment that an introductory course in Electrical Engineering (EE) should be offered to the non-electrical engineering (non-EE) students. As a result, almost all engineering institutions offer at least one “service course” to non-EE majors through the EE department. Traditionally, the content of this EE service course is a cut-and-paste combination of some of the content of courses offered to EE students. In addition, the traditional approach covers some limited topics in EE in detail, but does not cover the broad range of technologies in the field of electrical engineering. This practice is not consistent with growing interdisciplinary technologies and it does not adequately fulfill students’ future needs.

A number of universities recognized the problem and tried to find solutions usually just for one Engineering area (e.g., Mechanical Engineering) by including an additional course for non-EE majors [1], [2]. This is not an optimized approach because this additional course: (a) meets the needs of only one area of engineering, (b) needs more university resources to offer the course, and (c) costs students their time and funding. In other words, it increases the number of required courses rather than optimizing the current course. This experience formed the basis for a preliminary study conducted at Michigan Tech University and presented in ASEE 2004 [3].

In our previous paper [3], we discussed the preliminary work for evaluating the teaching approach for the interdisciplinary course “Introduction to Electrical Engineering (EE) for non-EE majors”. We surveyed professors, graduate and undergraduate students of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) in Michigan Tech University. The

1 This work is supported by NSF Award EEC-0415962.

Hungwe, K., & Zekavat, S., & Sorby, S. (2005, June), An Optimized Approach For Teaching The Interdisciplinary Course Electrical Engineering For Non Majors Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15618

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