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Application Of A Learning Model In An Introduction To Digital Logic Course

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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

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.209.1 - 9.209.5



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Paper Authors

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Arthur Brodersen

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Cordelia Brown

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

Session 1532

Application of a Learning Model in an Introduction to Digital Logic Course

Cordelia M. Brown, Arthur J. Brodersen Vanderbilt University School of Engineering Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Nashville, Tennessee 37235


During the 2003-2004 academic year, a general learning model is being employed at the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University (VUSE) in the “Introduction to Digital Logic” course. This course is accompanied by a laboratory component. There are multiple sections offered in this course. This learning model is being applied to half of the sections. Students register for one of the offered “Introduction to Digital Logic” sections. Students have no knowledge that there are different modalities of instruction. This method assures a nearly random assignment to sections. The remaining sections will receive the traditional approach to instruction. The sections using the learning model receive instruction through a combination of lecturing, active learning exercises, collaborative learning exercises, and peer instruction exercises. In these sections, students are engaged in challenge projects and presentations. Instructors and teaching assistants are provided with special training workshops on techniques for incorporating lectures that have active, collaborative, and peer instruction exercises. The traditionally instructed sections primarily receive lecture-based instruction. The effectiveness of the learning model is measured through surveys collected from students, instructors, and teaching assistants. Throughout the course of the academic year, a comparative study is performed on the sessions employing the traditional instruction methods versus those employing instructional methods from a learning model. The study evaluates the students’ course performance, attitude toward their instruction, retention, success rate, failure rate, and confidence levels of students in both the traditionally taught sections and the sections utilizing the learning model. The study also captures the instructors’ and teaching assistants’ responses to the effectiveness of both modes of instruction. This study provides strategies on how to maintain effective instruction while applying the learning model beyond this research study. Methods to apply sustainable instruction while utilizing the learning models are explored on other courses. This paper will present the underlying details of the learning model, and an analysis on the study performed during the 2003-2004 academic year.


For many students, the Introduction to Digital Logic course serves as the first engineering course. During this crucial time in an engineering student’s educational career, it is imperative to provide an environment that is learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered1. An approach to providing this type of environment is captured in a

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

Brodersen, A., & Brown, C. (2004, June), Application Of A Learning Model In An Introduction To Digital Logic Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14026

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