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Enhancing Engineering Students’ Troubleshooting Skills

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Undergraduate Students' Development of Computational and Programming Skills

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37083

Download Count

202

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Paper Authors

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Bill M. Diong Kennesaw State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6922-2283

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Dr. Bill Diong received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He gained valuable practical experience as a Senior Research Engineer with Sundstrand Aerospace (now merged into Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corporation) before returning to academia. He is currently a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Kennesaw State University, in Marietta, GA, and also serves as the institution's Associate Vice-President for Research. His research and teaching interests include engineering education, power electronic systems, advanced power and energy systems, and dynamic systems and control.

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Craig A. Chin Kennesaw State University

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Craig A. Chin is currently an Associate Professor in the electrical engineering department at Kennesaw State University. His research interests include applying digital signal processing and machine learning techniques to biomedical signals/images, and investigating innovations in engineering education to enhance student learning.

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Sandip Das Kennesaw State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7336-9568

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Sandip Das is currently an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at Kennesaw State University. Dr. Das received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Carolina, Columbia in 2014. His research interests include solar photovoltaics and renewable energy systems, alternative energy harvesting devices, semiconductor optoelectronic devices, applied electronics, and development of technology enhanced teaching tools and pedagogical framework for improved engineering education.

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Ayse Tekes Kennesaw State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9537-2098

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Ayse Tekes is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Kennesaw State University. She received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University, Turkey. She worked as a research engineer at Rotorcraft Research Center in Turkey, where she was responsible for modeling of helicopter and developing stability analysis. After her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Micromachined Sensors and Transducers (MiST) research group at Georgia Tech. She focused on modeling the dynamic behavior of Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers (CMUTs) and reduction of the nonlinearities in large signal operation. Before current position, she has been working as an instructor in Mechanical Engineering Department at Kennesaw State University. She teaches Engineering Dynamics, System Dynamics and Control, Machine Dynamics and Vibrations, Vibrations Lab, Matlab and Product Realization courses. Her research interests include mathematical modeling, analysis, and control of compliant mechanisms, nonlinear control, feedback control, and MEMs modeling.

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Walter Thain Kennesaw State University

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Walter E. Thain is an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering department and teaches courses in circuit analysis, electronics and RF systems. He received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Research interests include RF communication systems, low-noise analog circuit design, energy harvesting, and digital signal processing. He spent 12 years in industry, where he designed mixed analog-digital systems, including, short-pulse radars and antennas, low-noise analog circuits, RF circuits, pulse generators, frequency synthesizers, switching power supplies, and high-speed digital circuits. He is co-inventor on a patent for the design of electronic instrumentation used to steer oil wells while drilling.

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Abstract

Several Engineering faculty at Kennesaw State University have observed over the past few semesters that students are often unable to fulfill the original design requirements set for their senior project due in part to their limited ability to effectively troubleshoot the technical issues they encounter in completing their design project. Troubleshooting skill is an important and integral part of good engineering practice. This skill represents the ability to identify and fix a problem within an engineered system by strategizing the approach within a time-constrained setting. To address this weakness, our group of five Engineering faculty members formed a learning community to devise an initiative to better prepare students for troubleshooting tasks. It is expected that this should help them not only achieve greater success in their senior design project, but also better prepare them for the workforce. While several recent studies help illuminate what types of short-term (within 1 course) interventions may be successful in improving students’ troubleshooting skills, our faculty group converged unanimously on the hypothesis that longer-term interventions may yield deeper and more lasting impact by reinforcing a consistent framework (e.g. the approach of determining the key questions to ask and actions to take that yield key information about the faulty system) for approaching troubleshooting tasks as well as to diversify the students’ experiences in applying troubleshooting skills thus helping them to become more adept. Moreover, we decided to take the approach of developing new exercises for students to investigate fault scenarios as a fairly easy way for instructors to support this initiative in their various lab sections. Finally, the outcomes of these interventions can be measured at the end of each of the selected courses with labs, but more importantly should then be evident in students being more competent troubleshooters in their senior design project. Hence the proposed interventions to develop students’ troubleshooting skills will initially include new mini-lectures and lab exercises for the required courses regularly taught by this faculty group. Since some of these courses are also required by other majors, the proposed interventions will impact 2/3 of the Engineering college’s students, although to different extents, with the EE students being the most impacted. The work-in-progress versions of these mini-lectures and lab exercises are briefly described in this paper. But due to the ongoing pandemic, the full implementation of the planned interventions was put on hold indefinitely.

Diong, B. M., & Chin, C. A., & Das, S., & Tekes, A., & Thain, W. (2021, July), Enhancing Engineering Students’ Troubleshooting Skills Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37083

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