Asee peer logo

Board 72 : Trending Mistakes in Signals and Systems Courses

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Farrah Fayyaz Concordia University

visit author page

Farrah Fayyaz has recently joined Concordia University, Montreal, Canada as a Lecturer in the Center for Engineering in Society in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. She got her PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue University in December 2014. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. She has taught Electrical Engineering related courses for almost eighteen years now. Her area of research is investigating undergraduate Electrical Engineering students' conceptual understanding of various topics in courses related to the fields of Signals and Systems and Electronics.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Signals and Systems is a core course in undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum. The concepts taught in this course become foundation knowledge for many advanced courses, which necessitates conceptual understanding of the topics in this course. Despite many attempts to make this course easy to understand for students, its conceptual understanding remains a challenge. This study aims to identify the hard parts of signals and systems courses by identifying the mistakes that undergraduate electrical engineering students continue to make in signals and systems related questions even after repeatedly applying the concepts in advanced courses. For this study, we have taken three questions related to the basic concepts (drawing of a sinusoidal signal, and Fourier analysis) in signals and systems courses and given in the midterm exam of sixty undergraduate electrical engineering students from one university while they were taking signals and systems course. The same three questions were given to the same sixty undergraduate electrical engineering students (in their digital signal processing midterm exam) who had already passed signals and systems and analog communication courses and were taking digital signal processing while they answered the three questions. All sixty students are divided in two sections and are consistently being taught by the same instructors. This means that all students were taught the concepts in the same way. The reason for taking the same exam of the same population twice with an interval of a year is to identify the mistakes that students make even after studying the concepts repeatedly in different contexts. The findings of this study will help to identify teaching strategies that can target the trending hard parts of signals and systems courses.

Fayyaz, F. (2018, June), Board 72 : Trending Mistakes in Signals and Systems Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30095

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015