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Engaging Electrical and Computer Engineering Freshman Students with an Electrical Engineering Practicum

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 10

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


John Okyere Attia P.E. Prairie View A&M University

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Dr. John Okyere Attia is Professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering at Prairie View A&M University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the field of Electronics, Circuit Analysis, Instrumentation Systems, and VLSI Design. Dr. Attia earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Houston, an M.S. from University of Toronto and B.S. from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Dr. Attia has over 75 publications including four engineering books. His research interests include innovative electronic circuit designs for radiation environment, radiation testing, and power electronics. Dr. Attia is the author of the CRC book, Electronics and Circuits Analysis Using MATLAB, 2nd Edition He has twice received outstanding Teaching Awards. In addition, he is a member of the following honor societies: Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, Kappa Alpha Kappa and Eta Kappa Nu. Dr. Attia is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.

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Lisa D. Hobson Ph.D. Prairie View A&M University

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Dr. Lisa Hobson is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Prairie View A&M University and has served in the professorate since 1999. She holds a Ph. D. in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Hobson has written and received grants on the k-12 and university levels related to the areas of teacher recruitment and retention, language arts, mathematics, science, and technology. Her research areas include: leadership and organizational development, teacher leadership, mentoring, student retention, and student engagement.

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Pamela Holland Obiomon Prairie View A&M University

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Pamela Obiomon received a BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas, Arlington TX, in 1991, a MS in engineering degree from Prairie View A&M University in 1993, and a PhD degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University in 2003. From 1998 to 1999, Dr. Obiomon served as an adjunct faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in the Department of Micro-electronics in Rochester, New York. From 2000-2002, she was the lead data processing system hardware engineer in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. In 2003, she joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Prairie View A&M University. She is currently serving as the Department Head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Prairie View. Dr. Obiomon’s research interests include the development of integrated microsystems powered by energy scavenging for biomedical and environmental devices and radiation effects on devices.

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Mahamadou Tembely Prairie View A&M University

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Mahamadou Tembely is a Ph.D student at Prairie View A&M University, Texas. He received the 2014 Outstanding MS Graduated Student award for the department of electrical and computer engineering. He is the author of several papers.

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It has been reported that 58% of students in engineering programs switch their majors in the first two years. Some of statistics are due to teaching approaches that are not suitable for current populations of students that learn and acquire new knowledge quite differently from those of earlier generations. Several new pedagogical paradigms have been proposed to improve engineering education, such as the use of “hands-on” tools to change the learning style in the engineering classroom to more engaging teaching pedagogies. An approach that is being used to engage and inspire the electrical and computer engineering freshman students at an HBCU institution is the Electrical Engineering Practicum. The Electrical Engineering Practicum is a cloud-based book that uses the analog discovery module and electronic parts kit to facilitate hands-on learning and self-exploration by the students.

The paper will describe the hands-on learning experiences of freshman students who used the Electrical Engineering Practicum. The paper will discuss the various laboratory experiments performed by the students, the knowledge and skill learnt by the students, the lessons learned while introducing Analog Discovery (AD) Board into the freshman curriculum.

Preliminary data indicate that students are benefiting from the use of the AD Boards. Students report increases in their interest in subject content, motivation to learn, and confidence in their ability to learn. Increases in these variables appear to be yielding positive student perceptions of their current knowledge and ability level.

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award Number 1255441 for Experimental Centric Based Engineering Curriculum for HBCUs.


1. John Millard,” Workshop – Improving Student Engagement and Intuition with the Mobile Studio Pedagogy,” Proceedings of the 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, pp. W3C-1, October 22 – 25, 2008.

2. Mihaela Radu, “Developing Hands-on Experiments to Improve Student Learning via Activities Outside the Classroom in Engineering Technology Programs, “ 4th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference, March 8, 2014

3. Connor, K. A., Y. Astatke, C.J. Kim, C. J., A.A.Eldek, H.R. Majlesein, H. R., P. Andrei, J.O. Attia, & K.A. Gullie, C.A. Graves, and A.R. Osareh, A. R. “Simultaneous Implementation of Experimental Centric Pedagogy in 13 ECE Programs,” Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Seattle, Washington, June 2015.

4, Robert Bowman, “Inspiring Electrical Engineering Students Through Fully-Engaged Hands-on Learning,” 2013 IEEE 56th International Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems, pp. 574 – 577, 2013.

5. Bowman, Robert, Electrical Engineering Practicum, Online Textbook,, 2014.

6. Byers, L. K., J. W. Kile, C. Kiassat, “Impact of hands-on first year course on student knowledge of and interest in engineering disciplines,” Proceedings of ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Indianapolis,IN, June 2014.

Attia, J. O., & Hobson, L. D., & Obiomon, P. H., & Tembely, M. (2017, June), Engaging Electrical and Computer Engineering Freshman Students with an Electrical Engineering Practicum Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28243

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