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Combining Technical and Entrepreneurial Skills in an Electric Circuits Course through Project-Based Learning

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Programs and Courses Session 5

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.289.1 - 24.289.14



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Paper Authors


Heath Joseph LeBlanc Ohio Northern University Orcid 16x16

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Heath J. LeBlanc is an Assistant Professor in the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department at Ohio Northern University. He received his MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and graduated summa cum laude with his BS in Electrical Engineering from Louisiana State University in 2007. His teaching interests include control, signals and systems, electric circuits, engineering economy, electromagnetics, and system design. His research interests include cooperative control of networked multi-agent systems, resilient and fault-tolerant control, and networked control systems. He received the Best Student Paper Award in the area of Intelligent Control Systems and Optimization at the 2010 International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics, and he received an Honorable Mention Award at the 2012 International Conference on Hybrid Systems: Computation & Control.

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Khalid S. Al-Olimat P.E. Ohio Northern University

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Dr. Khalid S. Al-Olimat is professor and chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department at Ohio Northern University. He obtained his BS in Electrical Engineering from Far Eastern University in 1990, the MS in Manufacturing Engineering from Bradley University in 1994 and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toledo in 1999. Dr. Al-Olimat is the recipient of Henry Horldt Outstanding Teacher Award in 2004. He is a senior member of IEEE and the chair of IEEE-Lima section. His areas of interest are power engineering, adaptive, fuzzy and intelligent control. Dr. Al-Olimat is a registered professional engineer in the State of Michigan.

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Firas Hassan Ohio Northern University

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Nesreen Alsbou Ohio Northern University

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Combining Technical and Entrepreneurial Skills in an Electric Circuits Course through Project-Based LearningEducators should always seek opportunities to enhance their course material and equip studentswith skills to help them achieve success in their career after graduation. One skill that has drawnmuch attention recently is the entrepreneurial mindset. Using the pedagogical framework ofproject-based learning, this work infuses some of the soft skills associated with theentrepreneurial mindset with the technical skills of electric circuit analysis and design through aspecific multi-phase, multi-disciplinary project. The course is offered to students majoring inelectrical, computer, mechanical, and civil engineering. The expected outcomes are effectivecollaboration and communication, persisting and learning from failure, management, and solvingambiguous problems.The project requires students to form teams, or fictitious companies, comprised of two to fourmembers spanning across at least two disciplines. The task is to respond to a Request forProposal (RFP) that requires the design of a set of temperature sensors using NegativeTemperature Coefficient (NTC) thermistors for a customer, which is represented by theinstructor. In the written proposal, teams must translate the given customer specifications toengineering specifications or requirements, research the problem, propose two alternativesolutions, incorporate a decision matrix to select the best solution, list the required materials,show total cost including labor, perform a break-even analysis, illustrate the circuit design andschematics, verify the designed circuit through simulation, plot the voltage-temperaturerelationship of the designed circuit, establish a detailed testing plan, investigate proper devicehousings, propose a time schedule for delivery, construct a prototype circuit, perform the testsdetailed in the test plan on the prototype, and report the results of the tests in an attachedspecifications sheet for the device.After submitting the written proposal, there is a two-stage evaluation process for selecting thewinning bid. In the first stage, each team within each class section is given five minutes to pitchtheir proposal using a poster in an effort to convince the customer (in this case the sectioninstructor) that their design is the best within the section and should be selected to win the bid.After the first stage, the proposals are ranked and graded by the section instructor according topredetermined evaluation criteria given in the RFP, and the winning teams (of each section)participate in the second stage of pitches to all customer representatives (in this case, all sectioninstructors). The overall winning team will receive a monetary prize and will be funded topresent the project in an ASEE section meeting. Although there is only one winning team, allteams are required to build their circuit, execute the test plan as mentioned in the proposal,fabricate the circuit on a printed circuit board, and deliver a working prototype.The paper will present all involved details in this project including the phases mentioned above,rubrics used for project evaluation, assessment of students’ attitude toward this activity,assessment of project outcomes, and lessons learned throughout the project.

LeBlanc, H. J., & Al-Olimat, K. S., & Hassan, F., & Alsbou, N. (2014, June), Combining Technical and Entrepreneurial Skills in an Electric Circuits Course through Project-Based Learning Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20180

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