Asee peer logo

Enhancing Student Learning Through State Of The Art Systems Level Design And Implementation: The Development Of A Lower Division Learning Module

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

New Trends in ECE Education II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.551.1 - 13.551.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

James Harris California Polytechnic State University


Dominic Dalbello Allan Hancock College

visit author page

Dominic J. Dal Bello received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara. He is currently Assistant Professor of Engineering at Allan Hancock College, a California community college in Santa Maria, where he teaches Statics, Dynamics, Strength of Materials, Material Science, Circuit Analysis, Circuits and Devices, and Matlab. In Spring 2006, he was the first recipient of the Allan Hancock Foundation Outstanding Faculty Award. Professor Dal Bello also teaches at UC Santa Barbara during the summer session. He worked for four years analyzing structures for Clamshell Buildings in Ventura, CA. He is a member of ASEE and ASME.

visit author page

author page

Jianbiao Pan California Polytechnic State University


Albert Liddicoat California Polytechnic State University

visit author page

Albert A. Liddicoat received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and his M.S. degree in Engineering Management from Stanford University in 1996, 2002 and 1999, respectively. Dr. Liddicoat worked for IBM’s Storage Technology Division from 1990 until 2002 where he held many positions in disk drive development including: servo system test and integration, ASIC development, system electronics and architecture, program management, and business line management. Currently, he is the Forbes Associate Professor and the Director of the Computer Engineering Program at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. His research interests include computer architecture, computer arithmetic, networks, and re-configurable computing.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Enhancing Student Learning Through State-of- the-Art Systems Level Design and Implementation: The Development of a Lower Division Learning Module


The Cal Poly/Allan Hancock team is developing a learning module that will allow all lower division engineering students to design, fabricate, assemble, and test an electronic system implemented on a printed circuit board (PCB). All the services necessary to perform this laboratory experiment will be provided with low-cost vendors available on the . The learning module is being developed so that it can be integrated into the existing electrical engineering lower division courses that are required by all engineering students. The laboratory learning module will use operational amplifiers (op amp), resistors, capacitors and other common electronic components to study the theory of op am circuits, and to apply these circuits to the interfacing of electronic signals with the physical world. The learning module will replace two existing laboratory experiments on op amps with a five week exercise. After lecture on the theory, the five week exercise will consist of one week of laboratory introducing the PCB technology and the PCB design tool. Outside of class, the students will submit their designs (after instructor review) to a vendor for fabrication, and order their parts. After about three weeks, the students are expected to have received the fabricated PCB and to have assembled the parts on the PCB. On the last week, they will test their board and perform the experiment. Thus, this learning module will be compatible with current course/lab schedules, and could be conveniently incorporated into an existing course/lab to meet and extend the existing laboratory learning objectives.


In today’s global environment it is imperative that engineering graduates are prepared to enter the workforce with the skills necessary to make immediate contributions. A review of that imperative identified a gap in the engineering curricula: there is a lack of “systems” level design experience that requires engineering students to synthesize what they have learned in their curriculum and extend their knowledge outside their field of study through independent learning.

In an attempt to address this issue in the computer engineering curriculum at Cal Poly, we are building a pipeline in the curriculum to properly prepare and engage students in project-based learning activities. More specifically, we are developing a new electronics design and manufacturing course, a new introduction to systems design course, and incorporating a scalable solution to project-based learning into the curriculum1. The project-based learning experience is aimed to provide a multidisciplinary environment to design the hardware and software components of a system while industrial and manufacturing engineering students fabricate and assemble the boards. This experience in the undergraduate computer engineering curriculum will better prepare students to enter the workforce after obtaining a four-year degree and to better meet their employers’ expectations.

Harris, J., & Dalbello, D., & Pan, J., & Liddicoat, A. (2008, June), Enhancing Student Learning Through State Of The Art Systems Level Design And Implementation: The Development Of A Lower Division Learning Module Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3756

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015