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Implementation of Cooperative Learning Techniques to Increase Minority Student Interest in RF/Microwave Engineering

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovatiive Methods to Teach Engineering to URMs

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.730.1 - 25.730.13



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Paper Authors


Michel A. Reece Morgan State University

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Michel A. Reece is currently a tenured professor and Research Director of the Center of Microwave, Satellite, and RF Engineering (COMSARE) in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Morgan State University. In this center, she pursues research in the areas of high frequency device characterization and modeling, highly efficient solid-state power amplifier design, and adaptable components design for software defined radio applications. She became the first female recipient at Morgan State to obtain her doctorate degree in engineering in 2003. She received her B.S.E.E from Morgan State in 1995 and her M.S from Penn State in 1997, both in electrical engineering. She has worked at companies such as Northrop Grumman, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, and Boeing (formerly known as Hughes Aircraft Company). She has a passion for education where she has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University and participated as a volunteer tutor to middle and high school students within her local community.

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Tracy R. Rone Institute for Urban Research, Morgan State University

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Tracy R. Rone, Ph.D. is a Research Associate at the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University. Trained as a linguistic and cultural anthropologist, the study of issues related to the education of children and adolescents in home, school, and community settings is a focal point of her research. Her publications address issues in narrative, African American student academic achievement, and strategies for creating civic and intellectual engagement in undergraduate classrooms.

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Carl White Morgan State University

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Implementation of Cooperative Learning Techniques to Increase Minority Student Interest in RF/Microwave Engineering:Abstract Morgan State University (MSU) is one out of a few HBCUs offering a structuredprogram in RF (radio frequency) and microwaves at the undergraduate level. Within thisprogram, RF/microwave courses are offered as senior electives within the Electrical Engineeringcurriculum. However, these courses suffered low enrollment, poor retention and minimal studentengagement. Recently, with the award of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Course,Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Grant, microwave equipment was purchased toprovide minority students with a laboratory environment that incorporates cooperative learningto increase student interest in RF Microwave Engineering fields. Studies show that students learnbest when they are actively involved in the learning process. Incorporating a hands-on laboratoryexperience in conjunction with traditional course lecture has been known to actively engagestudents in learning. However, there has been no documentation to illustrate best practices inimplementing cooperative learning techniques to a minority student population in an RFEngineering laboratory environment. This paper will provide an overview of cooperativelearning strategies used in the RF microwave engineering laboratory and give an update of theimpact of these strategies in increasing minority student interest in the microwave fields. In apilot study over the period of two subsequent semesters, it was shown through unstructuredinterviews and pre- and post surveys that cooperative learning incorporating structured problemsolving did increase student interest in RF Microwave Engineering from 58% to 75% in the Fall2008 semester and from 30% to 40% in the Fall 2009 semester. 1

Reece, M. A., & Rone, T. R., & White, C. (2012, June), Implementation of Cooperative Learning Techniques to Increase Minority Student Interest in RF/Microwave Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21487

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