June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Women in Engineering
26.605.1 - 26.605.14
Engaging Female Students Using a First Year Wearable Electronics LabThis paper describes a wearable electronics lab, and the students’ responses to this introductionto electrical engineering. Wearable electronics are a new and exciting way of combining art andengineering into a functional design that has many applications. Using electronic textiles (e-textiles) as the inspiration for a first year engineering lab project allows the students to exploretheir creativity while learning about the design process. The medium of e-textiles is alsopowerful in engaging female students who are traditionally underrepresented in electricalengineering programs. This lab was implemented in a freshman interdisciplinary engineeringcourse to increase the confidence of the students in their engineering abilities and theirknowledge of sensors and circuits, as well as stimulate and encourage the female students in theirability to perform electrical engineering.An electrical engineering lab project first exploring the hardware required to light an LED wascreated for the students. This project involved a circuit being constructed to light the LED,followed by analysis of the frequency and tolerance of the components of the circuit. The nextpart of the project involved the programming of the wearable electronics kit, to design thelighting pattern of a set of LEDs sewn into material using conductive thread. The kits involvedthe use of a light sensor and a microprocessor that the students’ programmed. Surveys of thestudents from the beginning of the semester have shown that only 24% rate themselves asconfident in their abilities to create a wearable electronic circuit. Of the female students, noneresponded as being confident in creating a wearable electronic circuit and only 20% ratethemselves as confident in their ability to create any electronic circuits. The results ofpreliminary and final surveys will be used to explore the quality of the wearable electronics lab,and whether it encourages student learning in its introduction of electrical engineering. Inaddition, the female students’ confidence and encouragement in the engineering program, as wellas their knowledge of sensors and circuits, will be assessed.
Morgan, J. K., & Leone, M. J. (2015, June), Engaging Female Students Using a First-year Wearable Electronics Project Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23943
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