Asee peer logo

Freshman Experiences In The Electronics Lab: Comparing The Approaches At The Polytechnic University Of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain) And Penn State University, Wilkes Barre Campus

Download Paper |


1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.294.1 - 3.294.5



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Mireya Fernández

author page

Albert Lozano-Nieto

author page

Ferran Silva

Download Paper |

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

Session 3148

Freshman Experiences in the Electronics Lab: Comparing the Approaches at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain) and Penn State University, Wilkes-Barre Campus Mireya Fernández1 , Albert Lozano-Nieto2, and Ferran Silva1 1 Electronic Engineering Dept., Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain 2 Penn State University. Commonwealth College. Wilkes-Barre Campus. Lehman, PA


It is widely recognized and accepted that the first electronics laboratory experiences for Engineering and Engineering Technology students are critical to establish good laboratory practices, develop their interest and curiosity in the subjects being taught and overcome the sense of fear that some students might have to use electronic instrumentation. This paper examines how two institutions, one in the United States, Penn State University, Wilkes-Barre Campus (PSU-WB) and the other one overseas, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain (UPC) address the contents and the structure for a freshman electronics laboratory course.

The traditional approach for an electronics laboratory course is based on making students to build different electrical circuits with more or less help from the workbook or the instructor in order to verify the concepts explained during the lectures. Newly developed approaches take other factors into consideration to increase the student’s interest and to facilitate the learning process. Some of the issues explored in this paper include: How to incorporate non-traditional support material such as catalogs and data-sheets into the classrooms, the integration of several experiments into mini-projects, the integration of measurement science into the lab work, and to stress the importance of not only designing and building a circuit that works according to the specifications, but also the need for the student to sell his or her product to a potential customer, in this case the instructor. All these issues will be examined at the light of the experiences at both institutions.


Laboratory experiences are a key factor in the success of an Engineering Technology Program. They provide the students with the opportunity to corroborate what they learned in the classroom, allow the instructor to introduce new material that will be later analyzed theoretically in the lectures and give the students a good view of what kind of work the professionals in their field do. Some of the programs in academia, in particular some Engineering programs, have a lack of laboratory work in the students freshman year, what stops them to become involved in a particular field. Because of their time limitations, and their industrial focus, Engineering Technology programs have solved these problems, by introducing in their freshman year

Fernández, M., & Lozano-Nieto, A., & Silva, F. (1998, June), Freshman Experiences In The Electronics Lab: Comparing The Approaches At The Polytechnic University Of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain) And Penn State University, Wilkes Barre Campus Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7140

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: © 1998 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