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Animating Theoretical Concepts For Signal Processing Courses

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Programming and DSP Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.203.1 - 7.203.10

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Paper Authors

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Jordan Rosenthal

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James McClellan

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Session 3220

Animating Theoretical Concepts for Signal Processing Courses

James H. McClellan, Jordan Rosenthal Georgia Institute of Technology / MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Abstract: Although most topics in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) are highly mathematical, most experts possess knowledge of these concepts that is primarily graphical. Therefore, we have developed a variety of multimedia adjuncts for use in an introductory signal processing course at Georgia Tech to teach abstract concepts. These same multimedia tools are also valuable in senior-level and graduate DSP courses. Among the available resources are animations, demonstrations MATLAB GUIs that address nearly every major conceptual issue in a basic DSP course.

1. INTRODUCTION Since 1994 we have developed and used a variety of multimedia animations and demonstrations as an integral part of the sophomore-level signal processing course at Georgia Tech. We have found it most convenient to present these tools to beginning students either in the form of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) programmed in MATLAB, or animations and movies produced in MATLAB. The GUIs and movies can serve a variety of purposes. First of all, they address nearly every major conceptual issue in the course, so we hope that students will use them to gain visual insights that are not possible from a printed page. In addition, we have found that instructors benefit as much as the students, because they can employ the GUIs and movies as lecture aids that supplement traditional methods of instruction. The GUI tools are convenient because they allow the instructor to quickly pose alternate cases or respond to student questions. Animations and movies serve a similar purpose, and even though they are less versatile than a GUI, they can be created more quickly. Ideally, the GUIs would engage students in active learning through interactive exercises, but this is difficult to accomplish in all cases. We have had some success with GUIs that generate drill problems. However, one interesting finding is that students are reluctant to use these new tools when studying alone. Therefore, we have started to create new homework and lab assignments that require active use of the GUIs to compare computer-generated results to analytical derivations. In this paper, we will describe the features of a few GUIs and animations and the scenarios in which they have successfully been deployed.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Rosenthal, J., & McClellan, J. (2002, June), Animating Theoretical Concepts For Signal Processing Courses Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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