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Effective Practices In The Electrical Systems Service Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.459.1 - 7.459.8



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Paper Authors

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Edward Wheeler

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Cliff Grigg

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Zachariah Chambers

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Richard Layton

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

Main Menu Session ____

Effective Practices in the Electrical Systems Service Course

Edward Wheeler, Cliff Grigg, Zachariah Chambers, Richard A. Layton Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

I. Introduction

There is a national need to improve the electrical systems service courses taken by mechanical engineering (ME) students. The systems that engineers work with are becoming increasingly multidisciplinary. Engineers, particularly team leaders and engineering managers, are finding it increasingly important to acquire some technical competence outside their core disciplines. 1 Product design and development is coming to be viewed not as an assortment of problems in mechanics, electronics, hydraulics, and so forth, but as a systems problem, requiring a systems perspective. The automobile industry is only one example of an industry where this trend can be readily identified.2 Thus, knowledge of electrical systems is an integral part of every mechanical engineer's background, and it follows that electrical systems service courses are an integral part of mechanical engineering curricula.

Those who teach these courses know that the problems are not primarily ones regarding content but rather of delivery. The very real problems that can appear in these service courses are often due to a lack of motivation or interest on the part of students, a classroom/laboratory design that does not meet the discipline-specific needs of the students, and a learning environment lacking tools that encourage students to come to class prepared and that permit them to study effectively outside of class. We focus on the role that the course plays in the ME curriculum and the benefits it offers in the ME students' education.

Motivating students and engaging their interest is vital to the success of any course. 3 These courses, however, often fail to interest or motivate students and many times do not meet their primary objective of enabling students to use the principles of electrical systems in their chosen discipline. This is partly because material is offered to the mechanical engineering student from the perspective of an electrical engineer. From the students' viewpoint, these service courses become a collection of unrelated topics with little relevance to their interests. Mechanical engineering departments must work with electrical and computer engineering (ECE) departments to improve these courses and to help ensure that the needs of ME students are met. ME departments can take steps to ensure that students come to these classes motivated and engaged. They can help faculty from ECE choose relevant topics that interest ME students.

In this paper, we describe steps being taken at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to address these issues. This is an ongoing project and course design will likely undergo significant modifications over the next 2-4 years. We report here the steps taken to date and our present plans. We begin with some background information, follow with course and curriculum design considerations, and conclude with our plans for assessment.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Wheeler, E., & Grigg, C., & Chambers, Z., & Layton, R. (2002, June), Effective Practices In The Electrical Systems Service Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11226

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