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Combining Digital with Analog Circuits in a Core Course for a Multidisciplinary Engineering Curriculum

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Course Development

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.362.1 - 26.362.14



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Paper Authors


Harold R. Underwood Messiah College

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Dr. Underwood received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1989, and has been a faculty member of the engineering Department at Messiah College since 1992. Besides teaching Circuits, Electromagnetics, and Communications Systems, he supervises engineering students in the Communications Technology Group on credited work in the Integrated Projects Curriculum (IPC) of the Engineering Department, and those who participate voluntarily via the Collaboratory for Strategic Parnternships and Applied Research. His on-going projects include improving flight tracking and messaging systems for small planes in remote locations, and developing assistive communication technology for those with cognitive and behavioral challenges, such as high-functioning autism, or PTSD.

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Donald George Pratt Messiah College

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Dr. Pratt is a Professor of Engineering at Messiah College where he has taught since 1993. Over the past 20+ years, he has become known for his work with students on an eclectic mix of practical, hands-on projects involving such things as electric vehicles, aircraft, vehicles for use in developing countries, and methods of finding and removing antipersonnel land mines. Dr. Pratt is a co-founder of the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research. He and his wife of 30+ years have two grown children and three grandchildren. An avid pilot and builder, he enjoys flying over the beautiful farms and forests of the Cumberland Valley.

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Combining Digital with Analog Circuits in a Core Course for a Multidisciplinary Engineering CurriculumA multidisciplinary engineering curriculum requires certain core courses to provide students withthe content they will need to be successful in subsequent coursework, projects and beyond.Circuit Analysis, a common core course, has traditionally emphasized the analog type, leavingdigital circuits for electrical or computer specializations. While a number of recent papers haveaddressed improved methods of instruction for Circuit Analysis (Morrow; Skromme, et al; Linnand Morton; Lawanto and Santoso; Rockland, et al; Whitlatch, et al), having the best contentselection also matters. With the prevalence of digital technology in today’s world, we believethat students in all the engineering disciplines must have exposure to digital theory, at least at abasic level. Thus, we have formed a new Circuits I core course that combines introductoryanalog and digital circuit theory. Accordingly, we have replaced our Circuit Analysis andDigital Electronics courses with the new Circuits I, II sequence. While the Circuits II coursetakes up the more advanced topics traditionally reserved for Electrical and Computerspecializations, the Circuits I course covers the basic circuits, both analog and digital, includingselected integrated circuit devices (ICs), required for competency in all engineering disciplines.Such competency will allow multidisciplinary teams to communicate more knowledgably and toproceed in a more informed way, when addressing issues of digital design and analysis. Thispaper will provide details on course content division, textbook selection, lecture and labadjustments, student reaction and other lessons learned, for the benefit of those who wish to trythe non-traditional approach.

Underwood, H. R., & Pratt, D. G. (2015, June), Combining Digital with Analog Circuits in a Core Course for a Multidisciplinary Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23701

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