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Does The Index Of Learning Styles Predict Laboratory Partner Success In Electronics Courses?

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovations in Laboratory Studies

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.450.1 - 13.450.4



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Paper Authors


Helen McNally Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. McNally is an assistant Professor or Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at Purdue University. She is a member of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center (BBC) at Purdus Discovery Park. Dr. McNally currently directs the BBC Biological Atomic Force Microscopy (BioAFM) Facility.
Dr. McNally’s research interests involve the development and integration of scanning probe technologies for fluid applications. She is currently developing BioAFM short courses and courses in nano and bio technology at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Her interest also includes outreach and curriculum development for K-12.

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

Does the Index of Learning Styles Predict Laboratory Partner Success in Electronics Courses? Introduction

This paper presents the results of a study into the success of various combinations of learning styles for laboratory partners in electronic courses. Specifically we are using the Introduction to Communications (electronics) course/lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology. The lab consists of ten different exercises and culminates in a final project in which the students build and test a superheterodyne receiver. At this time, students are allowed to choose their partners, generally considered to be based on friendship and past experience. The goal of this project is to understand if the learning styles combination of lab partners can predict the success of the partnership. Each student was asked to complete the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) questionnaire developed by Felder and Soloman1. The partners ILS reports were than paired and reviewed for commonalities and differences. The success of the lab partners were based on the overall lab scores and functionality of the receiver project. Factors such as habitual absenteeism and tardiness as well as overall course grade were also considered. The results of this study may suggest faculty to consider developing alternative strategies for lab partnership.

Course of Interest

The study described is being testing in a junior level electronic communications course. The course introduces the systems level theory and techniques of sending information. This includes signal analysis, various modulation techniques, transmitters, receivers, impedance matching techniques and filters. This is a four credit course including three fifty minute lectures and a two hour lab each week with nominally 40-50 students per semester. The laboratory component of this course is extensive to assist the students in applying the theory gained during lecture.

The labs consist of ten lab exercises, a few labs run multiple weeks. Five of the labs involve building various parts of a superheterodyne receiver (shown in figure 1.) Many of these components are built on printed circuit boards using surface mount technology. The 2nd lab consists of building the bandpass filter to operate at the Frequency Modulation (FM) range of 88- 108 KHz. The 4th lab involves building the local oscillator required for mixing operations. The mixer is built in lab #8 along with the FM demodulator. The 9th lab requires building the FM amplifier on the same board as the bandpass filter. By the 10th lab these components are strung together to make an operational system.

RF Amp IF Filter Audio Amp Mixer

Preselect Demod Spkr IF Amp LO

Figure 1 Superheterodyne Receiver

McNally, H. (2008, June), Does The Index Of Learning Styles Predict Laboratory Partner Success In Electronics Courses? Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3751

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