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Design Of A Flexible Rf/Ir Data Link And Associated Laboratory Curriculum In A First Analog Electronics And Devices Course

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Design in Freshman and Sophomore Courses

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.418.1 - 14.418.9



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Paper Authors


Kip Coonley Duke University

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Kip D. Coonley received the B.S. degree in physics from Bates College,
Lewiston, ME, in 1997 and the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, in 1999.
Following graduation from Dartmouth, he developed electronically controlled
dimmers for fluorescent and incandescent lamps at Lutron Electronics,
Coopersburg, PA. From 2001 to 2005, he was a Research Engineer at RTI
International, where he designed high-efficiency thermoelectrics using epitaxially
grown superlattice thin-film structures. Since 2005, he has been
the Undergraduate Laboratory Manager in the Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering at Duke University, Durham, NC. His interests include
undergraduate engineering education, power electronics, plasma physics, and
thin films.

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Martin Brooke Duke University


Philip Ethier Duke University

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Philip D. Ethier received the B.S.E.E. Degree from Duke University in 2009. He has been instrumental in the development of the RF development board used in undergraduate design. His interests include Analog and Digital Design. Phil enjoys baseball outside of academics.

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Hisham Massoud Duke University

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Hisham Z. Massoud joined the Duke ECE Department in 1983, where is now a Professor. He was the founding director of the Semiconductor Research Laboratory. Professor Massoud has been a research scientist at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y., in 1977 and 1980-81, the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina in 1987, the Hewlett-Packard Integrated Circuits Business Division in 1992, and the Max-Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in 1997 and 1998. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Fellow of the Electrochemical Society. He was awarded the 2006 Electronics and Photonics Division Award of the Electrochemical Society (ECS) for his work on ultrathin silicon dielectric films.

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

Design of a flexible RF data link and associated laboratory curriculum in a first analog electronics and devices course Abstract

A flexible low cost digital RF/IR communication link is described with an accompanying curriculum. The construction of the data link is intended to provide a jumping off point for students to explore electronics in a design-oriented, project-based first electronics class. The challenges of covering a core analog electronics curriculum to enable students to continue in the field and yet provide a rich design experience that will inspire students to remain in the electronics specialization are discussed. The course placement within the undergraduate curriculum is considered and the impact of this type of course on the prerequisite and post- requisite courses presented. Student acquisition of skills is assessed anecdotally and empirically.


Traditional approaches to engineering education have introduced students to real-world design in a scattered manner with limited exposure to design practices.1 A deficiency has been noted to exist at the sophomore and junior core course levels where design processes are not sufficiently addressed early on.2 In an attempt to make engineering more appealing to a wider number of students, introductory courses with significant design, build, and operate content are becoming much more prevalent.1-4 In addition, ABET 2000 has ensured that a summative design experience has been put into practice in most engineering programs.

Project-based learning has been shown to motivate students to learn actively.3 As a result, motivation, focus, and exposure to real-world, open-ended problem solving enhances the student experience. Both management and hands-on techniques are brought to bear on these projects. Introducing design projects in introductory courses increases motivation and creative thinking skills, especially when design is targeted toward realistic projects. In addition, the project focus early on serves to better prepare students for their capstone design projects in their senior year.1

To address the issues of a traditional engineering curriculum, the authors are part of a recent curriculum redesign in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. This redesign is funded by the National Science Foundation and is centered upon the theme of Integrated Sensing and Information Processing (ISIP).4 The redesigned curriculum has focused on real-world problems as a means for the successful training of modern engineers. The theme of ISIP has been implemented in the development of the first-year design experience which introduces students to all aspects of the Electrical and Computer Engineering curriculum (ECE 27 Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering).5 In an attempt to revitalize the electronics curriculum, the subsequent core ECE courses have been completely redesigned. These include the four major areas of ECE: Devices and Circuits, Digital Electronics, Electromagnetic Fields and Waves, and Signals and Systems. Following these courses, upper- level electives including full-scale design projects and laboratory experiences have been developed.6 With only one course in the core curriculum to introduce the entire field of microelectronics, the amount of time available to convey electronics theory has been dramatically reduced. To address the challenge of getting students to practice meaningful

Coonley, K., & Brooke, M., & Ethier, P., & Massoud, H. (2009, June), Design Of A Flexible Rf/Ir Data Link And Associated Laboratory Curriculum In A First Analog Electronics And Devices Course Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5680

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: © 2009 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