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Comparison of Practical Training Experiences for Electronics Engineers in China and the U.S.A.: Case Study of Southeast University and the University of San Diego

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2012 ASEE International Forum


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 9, 2012

Start Date

June 9, 2012

End Date

June 10, 2012

Conference Session

Track 2 - Curriculum and Laboratory Development

Tagged Topic

Track 2 - Curriculum and Laboratory Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

17.9.1 - 17.9.12



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Paper Authors


Yongming Tang Southeast University

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Prof. Yongming Tang has get the bachler, master and Ph.D degree from School of Electronic Science and Engineering of Southeast University in Nanjing, China. He became a teacher from 1998. Now he is the deputy dean, who is working on the curriculum for undergraduate students. He also organizes two contests in Southeast University every year.

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Susan M Lord University of San Diego

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Susan M. Lord received a B.S. from Cornell University and the M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is currently Professor and Coordinator of Electrical Engineering at the University of San Diego. Her teaching and research interests include electronics, optoelectronics, materials science, first year engineering courses, feminist and liberative pedagogies, engineering student persistence, and student autonomy. Her research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Lord is active in the engineering education community including serving as General Co-Chair of the 2006 Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference, on the FIE Steering Committee, and as President of the IEEE Education Society for 2009-2010. She is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education. She and her coauthors were awarded the 2011 Wickenden Award for the best paper in the Journal of Engineering Education. In Spring 2012, Dr. Lord spent a sabbatical at Southeast University in Nanjing, China teaching and doing research.

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Engineering education involves academic coursework as well as practical training. Thistraining may take several forms including laboratories, design contests, design courses, andinternships. Approaches to such activities vary within and among nations. In this work, wecompare the approach to practical training of electronics engineers at Southeast University(SEU) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China to that at the University of San Diego (USD) inSan Diego, California, U.S.A. This work is the result of an international cooperation betweenfaculty members at each of these institutions. We will provide overviews of the institutionsas well as the programs. Both institutions are committed to helping students develop criticalhands-on skills. Laboratories play an important role in the required curriculum for bothinstitutions. However, the logistics of these laboratories vary. For example, at USD, thelaboratories are integrated into individual courses while at SEU, there is a separateLaboratory Center that offers laboratories for many Schools. This is a national center andserves as a demonstration facility for other educators across China. Strengths of eachapproach will be considered. Both institutions offer students a significant yearlong designexperience. Students work in teams of three to five for both but there is considerablevariation in the approaches. At USD, students are required to complete a capstone seniordesign as part of their required curriculum. Ideas come from students, industry, faculty or theuniversity. Students must produce a physical prototype to meet specifications. They preparewritten and oral presentations at the proposal, preliminary design review, critical designreview, and final design review stages. These are reviewed by peers, faculty, and industry.Each student is given a grade based on this input. At SEU, students must complete twocredits of “Extracurricular Research” as part of a university “Ke Wai” requirement. Studentsmay choose to participate in Design Contests, the Scientific Research Training Program(SRTP), or do research with faculty. The first two are the most popular. Students themselvespropose most ideas for the design contests and SRTP projects. Now more proposals fromindustry or national scientific projects are introduced to the students. Students typically dothese projects as juniors. Reports are required for Design Contests and SRTP projects. MostDesign Contests also require a physical demonstration while SRTP projects require apresentation for a faculty panel with about half of the projects having a prototype. Designcontests only count towards graduation if a student is awarded first, second or third prize.SRTP projects are graded and the amount of credit depends on how well the project does inoverall competition with more credit at the national level. Strengths of each of theseapproaches will be discussed. Finally, suggestions of best practices that can be learned fromthese different institutions in different cultural contexts will be provided for other engineeringeducators across the world.

Tang, Y., & Lord, S. M. (2012, June), Comparison of Practical Training Experiences for Electronics Engineers in China and the U.S.A.: Case Study of Southeast University and the University of San Diego Paper presented at 2012 ASEE International Forum, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--17031

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