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Electric Circuits Via The Internet: Sharing & Extending

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.222.1 - 4.222.14

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Paper Authors

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Robert (Bob) M., Jr. Anderson

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Eric A. Cheek

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

Session 3232

Electric Circuits via the Internet: Sharing and Extending

Robert (Bob) M. Anderson Jr., Eric A Cheek, Sr. Iowa State University/North Carolina A & T State University


In fall 1997, Iowa State University (ISU) began to create instructional material on introductory electric circuits for delivery and administration using Mallard®. This effort has continued to this day; four semesters of experience will be available by June 1999.

In fall 1998, ISU shared its instructional material with North Carolina A & T (NCAT) and made the ISU web server available to NCAT faculty and students. Additionally, engineers at Hewlett- Packard facilities in Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado have begun a "formal audit" of this instructional material. The National Technological University will offer this course during the summer 1999.

The purposes of this paper are: 1. To share the lessons learned, over four semesters, during the development, delivery (to on- campus and off-campus students) and administration of instruction via Mallard® and the Internet. Such lessons include: those associated with the development of Mallard® problems, legal issues, student reactions, etc. 2. To share the lessons learned during our sharing of instructional materials and web server with faculty and students at another university. Such lessons include start-up challenges, remote access, required collaboration, etc. 3. To invite others to collaborate in the development and use of introductory electric circuits instruction via Mallard® and the Internet. We offer to share the body of material that has been developed to date.

I. Introduction and Background

Today, most of the state-of-the-art discussion about delivering and administering instruction via the Internet is found under the broad heading of asynchronous learning networks (ALN)1, 2, 3. Over the spring and summer of 1997, Bob Anderson and an ad hoc group of Iowa State University (ISU) faculty and staff reviewed a dozen, or more, software systems available for computer based instruction via the Internet. He selected Mallard®4 as the system to use to support his teaching of the introductory electric circuits course at ISU.

This choice was made primarily because Mallard® offers the capability to have random numbers in the problems that are to be solved by the students. Thus, each student generally has a different set of parameter values in each circuit problem. With this situation, we encourage students to help each other with their homework; the help is focused on how to solve the problem rather than on copying the numerical answer from one student to another.

Additional useful features of Mallard® include automatic and instantaneous grading, due dates,

Anderson, R. B. M. J., & Cheek, E. A. (1999, June), Electric Circuits Via The Internet: Sharing & Extending Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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