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Experiment, Explore, Design: A Sensor Based Introductory Ece Laboratory

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Design in the ECE Curriculum

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

12.718.1 - 12.718.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2384

Download Count

67

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Paper Authors

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Lisa Huettel Duke University

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LISA G. HUETTEL, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Laboratories in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. Her research interests include engineering education and the application of statistical signal processing to remote sensing. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Duke University.

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Kip Coonley Duke University

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KIP D. COONLEY, M.S., is the Undergraduate Laboratory Manager in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His interests include undergraduate engineering education, power electronics, plasma physics, and thin-films. He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Dartmouth College.

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Michael Gustafson Duke University

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MICHAEL R. GUSTAFSON II, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests include linear and non-linear control systems as well as curriculum development. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University.

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Jungsang Kim Duke University

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JUNGSANG KIM, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests include quantum information science, photonic devices, micro and nano fabrication technologies, and MEMS technologies. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

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Gary Ybarra Duke University

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GARY A. YBARRA, Ph.D., is a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests include K-12 engineering outreach, engineering education, microwave imaging and electrical impedance tomography. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University.

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Leslie Collins Duke University

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LESLIE M. COLLINS, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. Her research interests lie in physics-based statistical signal processing with applications in remote sensing and auditory prostheses. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering: Systems from the University of Michigan.

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

Experiment, Explore, Design: A Sensor-based Introductory ECE Laboratory

Abstract

A new introductory course, Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), has been designed to provide a rigorous, integrated introduction to the ECE field. The course laboratory, described in this paper, both promotes concept integration and provides a mechanism by which students can explore applications. Consistent with the curricular theme of Integrated Sensing and Information Processing (ISIP), a microcontroller-based robotic platform that includes a suite of sensors was selected as the foundation of all laboratory exercises. To develop both the students’ conceptual understanding and their design skills, each laboratory session includes an initial, guided experimental component, in which basic concepts are investigated, and a subsequent open-ended exploration component, during which students are challenged to design a robot that completes a real-world task. After students complete a series of eight such laboratory sessions, the experience culminates in a five-week Integrated Design Challenge (IDC). To successfully complete the IDC, students have to go beyond the knowledge developed in previous weekly laboratory activities, assimilating new knowledge and using new sensors or processing data in new ways. The IDC is structured to not only emphasize technical accomplishments, but also to promote the development of project management, team organization, and communication skills.

This paper elaborates on the philosophy behind the design of the laboratory experience, describes specific laboratory activities (including the IDC), and provides an assessment of the course based on data from several semesters. These data indicate that the more integrative, design-oriented, sensor-based approach benefits students in a variety of ways such as reinforcing fundamental concepts, motivating the study of ECE, and providing an opportunity to develop creative problem solving skills. In addition, the laboratory experience has been shown to have a significant positive impact on the achievement of several ABET criteria.

1. Introduction

As part of broad curriculum reform, a new introductory course entitled Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering has been developed and established as the cornerstone of the ECE curriculum at Duke University. The Fundamentals course introduces core concepts that span all of ECE: how to interface with the physical world; how to transfer and transmit energy and information; and how to extract, analyze, and interpret information. These concepts are developed within the context of the curricular theme of Integrated Sensing and Information Processing (ISIP), introducing the framework that provides a roadmap for the remainder of the curriculum.

Key findings in engineering education literature have shown that both student interest and pedagogical effectiveness are increased when students have the opportunity to solve practical problems, particularly when those problems are presented within open-ended design challenges1- 5 . Thus, two primary curricular objectives of the Fundamentals course are to link theoretical

Huettel, L., & Coonley, K., & Gustafson, M., & Kim, J., & Ybarra, G., & Collins, L. (2007, June), Experiment, Explore, Design: A Sensor Based Introductory Ece Laboratory Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2384

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: © 2007 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