June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Electrical and Computer
A Hands-on First-year Electrical Engineering Introduction Course
In this paper, we present successful endeavors in establishing a new first-year introduction to Electrical Engineering (Intro to EE) course curriculum. This course embraces a unique combination of seminar-style lectures in conjunction with hands-on laboratory exercises. Recently, our EE program was transformed from an Engineering Technology program. The Intro to EE course was the first EE course that the pre-majors take in their freshman year (winter quarter). This course was developed to achieve a number of goals: providing an overview of the EE profession, careers, and the filed in general; introducing the pre-major students about the EE curricula and have an understanding of various course sequences in the EE program; exposing students with essential EE lab instruments and common software tools; and inspiring students to study the EE major.
To achieve the aforementioned goals, we designed the course to have a 50-min lecture session and a two-hour hands-on laboratory session each week for a ten-week span. During each lecture a guest speaker from local industry and/or professional societies gives a talk on subjects related to their EE profession. Each weekly laboratory session is composed of fun hands-on exercises. In total there are five labs and one course project. These lab topics focus on a variety of aspects including software, circuitry, and microcontroller programming through real-life examples. For example, students simulated a digital piano using MatLab. They built a simple op-amp based alarm circuit and learned how to read datasheet and circuit diagrams. For the three-week long course project, each team of two or three students worked together to design, built, and tested an autonomous track-tracing Arduino-based robot car. Through these hands-on experience, we have strived toward making this introduction class a fun and engaging experience and keeping students engaged while taking other general subjects such as math, chemistry, and physics courses. The team-experience gained through their course project also helps students develop essential teamwork skills.
In the final paper, we will provide details of the course including the scopes of guest lectures, the hands-on lab coursework and project, and student feedback. As shown from students’ survey results from students who took this class in winter 2015 and 2016, this course has been well received and has been effective to achieve the multiple established objectives.
This curriculum may be adapted to other EE programs that have similar needs. Some of the hands-on laboratory exercises can also be adopted for outreach activities to inspire k-12 students to pursue STEM majors.
Lin, Y., & Lund, J. A., & Morton, T. D. (2017, June), Board # 50 : A Hands-on First-year Electrical Engineering Introduction Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27870
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