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Design of Simulink Projects for an Undergraduate Communications Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Teaching Analog and Digital Communication: Novel Ideas for Lecture Courses, Laboratories, and Projects

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.436.1 - 22.436.10



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Paper Authors


Chaitri Aroskar Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Chaitri Aroskar is currently pursuing her M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She received her B.S. degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India in 2009. Her major areas of interest are Wireless Communications and Signal Processing.

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Yahong Rosa Zheng Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Yahong Rosa Zheng received the B.S. degree from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China, in 1987, and the M.S. degree from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1989, both in electrical engineering. She received the Ph.D. degree from the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, in 2002. She was an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow from January 2003 to April, 2005 at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Currently, she is an assistant professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Her research interests include array signal processing, wireless communications, and wireless sensor networks. She has served as a Technical Program Committee (TPC) member for many IEEE international conferences, including IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference Fall 2008, IEEE GlobeCom 2005-09, and IEEE ICC 2006-09, IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference 2007-08, and IEEE International Sensors Conference 2004, etc. She served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications for 2006 - 2008. She has been a senior member of the IEEE since 2007. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award in 2009.

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Design of Simulink Projects for an Undergraduate Communications CourseAbstract:This paper describes six Simulink based laboratory projects designed for a junior levelundergraduate course: Communication Systems I. The course is presently a three hour lecturecourse with no laboratory component. As a first course in the communication series at ouruniversity, it covers a review of linear systems and introduces analog communication systems aswell as digital baseband communication systems. This course is intended to reinforce linearsystem theory and provide a solid foundation for advanced communication courses. Although thetextbook [ R.Ziemer and W.Tranter, Principles of Communication, 2009] provides MATLABexamples and exercises in the form of script files, previous offerings of the course have foundthat the lecture-only format does not provide enough time to teach simulation and more than50% of the students are not ready for the extensive MATLAB programming required by thisapproach.The authors aim to supplement traditional lectures with hands on simulation experience using amodel-based Simulink approach. Simulink is a graphical environment provided by MathWorksto enable model-based design and simulation. Simulink provides an extensive set of pre-definedblocks for modeling continuous-time or discrete-time systems or a hybrid of the two. It is an easytool for beginners as it allows users to build models by a simple drag, drop and connecting ofwires. The interactive graphical environment, intuitive design assembly and hierarchicalmodeling approach of Simulink make it an attractive tool for laboratory projects.The six Simulink laboratory projects are constructed to teach Simulink skills in parallel with thetheory. The first two projects relate to the review of linear system concepts to reinforcepreviously learnt basics. The next two projects deal with analog communication systems and thelast two are on digital communication systems. Each project also involves one new Simulinkskill such as basic design entry, library building, hierarchical design, etc. The projects have beendesigned with a gradually increasing complexity to provide the necessary confidence boost tostudents for subsequent projects.Moreover these laboratory projects and instructions have been designed following the Gagne’snine events of instruction. For example, the project statements clearly specify the learningobjectives, allowing students to map their progress in understanding the course material. Recallof previously learnt material is necessitated while building the system models. The post-labquestions after each session, increase retention of knowledge and a lab-critique for grading, givethe students an informative feedback. This facilitates a pedagogically rich learning environment.These laboratory projects are ready to be tested and will be implemented in class during Spring2011. Data will be collected and analyzed to ascertain the effectiveness of this approach. Weanticipate these Simulink projects to transform the dry theory into vivid illustrations and thusincrease retention and stimulate students’ interest.

Aroskar, C., & Zheng, Y. R. (2011, June), Design of Simulink Projects for an Undergraduate Communications Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17717

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