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"Flipped Lab" Approach in Electronics Design to Enhance Student Learning Experience

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 9

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Nisha Kondrath Villanova University

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Nisha Kondrath received her B.Tech degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India in 2002 and M.S and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering from Wright State University, Dayton, OH, USA in 2005 and 2010, respectively. Dr. Kondrath is currently a Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA. Before joining Villanova University in August 2012, she was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN, USA from August 2010-May 2012. Her research interests include power electronics, microgrids, PWM dc-dc converters, PWM dc-ac inverters, power semiconductors, and high-frequency power magnetics. Ms. Kondrath is a member of IEEE, Tau Beta Pi, and ASEE.

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Mark A. Jupina Villanova University

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Mark A. Jupina has been a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Villanova University since 1990. He has taught courses in electromagnetics, analog and digital electronics, and solid state materials, devices, and fabrication. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." This quote illustrates quite succinctly Mark Jupina’s pedagogy in teaching courses to undergrads. Since the 1990’s, Dr. Jupina has employed “active learning” techniques both inside and outside of the classroom using various modalities, including the flipped-lab approach during the last five years. More recently, Dr. Jupina has also incorporated Entrepreneurial Minded Learning (EML) exercises into his sophomore and junior-level courses.

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Active learning strategies were employed both inside and outside of the lab environment to develop more confident and more motivated self-learners in a two-course electronics sequence at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Villanova University. This pedagogy emphasizes the development of an individual student’s knowledge on a certain topic outside of class before structured, group-related activities are performed in a lab setting. As a result, the students more effectively contribute to peer-to-peer learning, since each individual is well equipped to bring specific expertise to the group. Individual efforts combined with group-related activities provide a new dynamic where each activity urges the students to be motivated self-learners who are also strong collaborative members of a team.

Outside of the class meeting period, learning modules utilizing circuit simulations and portable circuit board-based lab measurements were assigned to encourage the student to learn at his or her own pace wherever and whenever. With significant individual work completed outside of the class period, the instructors were able to focus on assessing the student’s performance in real time through in-class group-related activities. Within the group, each student had different responsibilities for different aspects of the design. Consequently, a better determination of each student’s level of absorption of the class materials was achieved.

This approach was implemented in two electronics courses: • Sophomore level “ECE 2550: Introduction to Electronics & Applications” in the spring semesters of 2014-2016. • Junior level “ECE 3550: Analog Electronics” in the Fall semesters of 2014-2016. Lab modules using a Multisim circuit simulator and a myDAQ data acquisition unit from National Instruments were developed to (1) provide opportunities for faculty to challenge the students to perform more complex electronic circuit designs and (2) foster more productive and student-centered peer-peer interactions. These out-of-class activities provided more time for interactive active learning based problem sessions in class. Ultimately, this increased the efficiency of classroom activities and the effectiveness of the faculty’s teaching in the limited formal class time. This paper discusses the implementation of the pedagogy with examples for specific projects, faculty experiences and challenges, and student feedback with the new approach.

Kondrath, N., & Jupina, M. A. (2017, June), "Flipped Lab" Approach in Electronics Design to Enhance Student Learning Experience Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27426

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