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Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Asynchronous Online Electric Circuits Laboratory

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Wesley G. Lawson University of Maryland College Park

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Prof. Lawson has earned five degrees from the University of Maryland, including a Ph,D, in Electrical Engineering in 1985. In his professional career at College Park, where he has been a full professor since 1997, he has worked on high-power microwave devices, medical devices, and engineering education. He is an author or coauthor on 5 books and 72 refereed journal articles and over 200 conference presentations and publications.

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Jennifer L. Kouo Towson University Orcid 16x16

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Jennifer L. Kouo, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at Towson University in Maryland. Dr. Kouo received her PhD in Special Education with an emphasis in severe disabilities and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from the University of Maryland at College Park. She is passionate about both instructional and assistive technology, as well as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and utilizing inclusive practices to support all students. Dr. Kouo is currently engaged in multiple research projects that involve multidisciplinary collaborations in the field of engineering, medicine, and education, as well as research on teacher preparation and the conducting of evidence-based interventions in school environments.

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The project developed, implemented, and evaluated a complete asynchronous online version of an electric circuits laboratory for the 2020 summer and fall semesters. In order to perform the labs, electronics kits, which contained a Diligent Analog Discovery 2 Device (AD2), or equivalent, as well as a breadboard, wires, operational amplifiers, diodes, resistors, capacitors, and inductors, were sent to each student. Videos were made to demonstrate the set-up of the AD2 software and hardware, as well as the operation of the AD2 and the assembly and testing of initial labs. The online labs were adjusted from the onsite versions to allow for the AD2s capabilities (and limitations) and for the reduction in the choice of components, but were equivalent in terms of complexity, content, and student learning objectives. While the labs were to be performed asynchronously, students could consult virtually with the instructors, and could show their circuits and the software results and receive help with the debugging and running of their circuits. There were two layers of assessment. The first was the usual course assessment, in which the post-lab reports were graded. The second assessment involved pre- and post-lab surveys and focus groups for both onsite and online students. Twelve students took the online version in the summer. Thirty-five took the course in the fall – 19 took the online version and 16 took the onsite version. Summer online students felt frustrated and lost some of the time, but not constantly. Students felt the support they received from the instructor was timely and helpful. In spite of their frustration, they felt positive about using the test and measurement equipment and about the design, simulation, and assembly of electric circuits. Students were neutral about their ability to debug circuits. Their assessment scores were at the same level of students who had previously taken the lab onsite. Fall students do not feel they will have a better experience online (as compared to onsite) and they do not feel they will learn as much. They are neutral as to whether or not they expect adequate help online. To date, it appears that while students are apprehensive about performing the labs online, after completing the lab, both the quantitative assessment and the student attitudes indicate that the student learning objectives can be achieved in the online, asynchronous environment. Post-lab survey results and focus group summaries for the fall cohort will be available in December.

Lawson, W. G., & Kouo, J. L. (2021, July), Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Asynchronous Online Electric Circuits Laboratory Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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