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Computer Interfaces For Teaching The Nintendo Generation

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.140.1 - 4.140.7



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Paper Authors

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Brian Jenkins

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Thad Welch

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3532


Thad B. Welch, Brian Jenkins Department of Electrical Engineering U.S. Naval Academy, MD

Cameron H. G. Wright Department of Electrical Engineering U.S. Air Force Academy, CO

1. Introduction

The utilization of the computer in the classroom is well documented and continues to grow in both availability and capability. The number of papers, e.g. (1-3) discussing the use of software such as MATLAB, as well as the number of textbooks, e.g. (4-8) that now offer companion disks or CD- ROMs clearly validates this statement. Where it is not at all uncommon for a Professor to require the use of commercially available software in a course or lab, the introduction of educational software designed to facilitate the understanding of a particular topic at the junior/senior level of the Electrical Engineering curriculum has not been as pervasive. For example, the use of MATLAB and its toolboxes has become commonplace at a large number of universities. MATLAB has allowed students to explore various aspects of the course material in greater depth, and Professors and textbook authors regularly provide additional MATLAB m-files to demonstrate a particular phenomenon or effect. The majority of these m-files are command line based and require more sophistication to glean the important lesson. In contrast, a well designed graphical user interface (GUI) driving this same m-file can largely reduce the need for user sophistication by guiding the student through what may have otherwise been a nearly infinite number of input parameter possibilities.

2. Discussion

This guiding of the students sounds appealing, but are we discouraging intellectual curiosity? Or even worse, are we entertaining instead of educating our students? To begin to address these questions, we turn to ASEE’s PRISM magazine and rely on its longstanding commitment to articles on teaching.

Recent examples include:

From What Is Good Teaching9, “Good teaching involves five basic components”, “... instructional methods that facilitate student involvement, ...”

Jenkins, B., & Wright, C., & Welch, T. (1999, June), Computer Interfaces For Teaching The Nintendo Generation Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. 10.18260/1-2--8116

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