June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
15.518.1 - 15.518.12
Enhancing the Undergraduate Design Experience with Surface Mount Soldering and Printed Circuit Board Techniques
In 2006, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University rolled out extensive revisions to the undergraduate curriculum. One of the overarching goals of the curriculum reform was to provide students with practical experiences solving realistic challenges from their freshman introductory course through their senior design course. As a direct result of these curricular modifications, goal-oriented and design-focused projects have become the norm, rather than the exception. Within a year of the reform, students taking courses as part of the revised curriculum were designing projects using the very latest available integrated circuits and software. As student projects increased in sophistication, a growing need for state-of-the-art Surface Mount Technology (SMT) facilities and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) etching capabilities was recognized. To support these projects, an SMT facility with PCB etching capability was developed. The use of SMT and PCB etching techniques enables students to pursue much more complex and creative design projects using current, industry-standard technology. The introduction of SMT/PCB facilities has had a significant impact across the entire undergraduate curriculum, from sophomore year core courses through senior design projects, and has improved the overall educational experience and outcomes.
Recent curriculum redesign in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University funded by the National Science Foundation has focused on real-world problems as a means for the successful training of modern engineers. The redesigned curriculum provides our students with more opportunities for hands-on experiences in applying theory to practical applications.1 Project-based learning is a central driver in this process which has been shown through prior work to motivate students to learn actively.2 It has also been shown that introducing design projects in introductory courses increases motivation and creative thinking skills, especially when design is targeted toward realistic projects3. In addition, the introduction of extensive project assignments and discussion of design skills early and often in the curriculum serves to better prepare students for their capstone design projects in their senior year.4
Student surveys and focus groups conducted in conjunction with the ECE curriculum reform efforts indicated a desire for more project design and practical implementation opportunities. Similarly, feedback from industry has suggested that our students would benefit greatly from additional occasion to apply theory to practice through design projects. This feedback motivated a number of reform initiatives relevant to the SMT/PCB laboratory including: 1) developing a new, first-year introductory course with a significant design component, 2) revising the core curriculum, increasing the amount of design students encounter early in the curriculum, and 3) revising current, and offering new, design courses with an increased focus on realistic design, more sophisticated implementation techniques, and the continued development of skills such as project management and communication.
Coonley, K., & Huettel, L. (2010, June), Enhancing The Undergraduate Design Experience With Surface Mount Soldering And Printed Circuit Board Techniques Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16408
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