June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Electrical and Computer
24.738.1 - 24.738.9
Electrical and Computer Engineering DivisionTopic: “Increasing students’ conceptual understanding of AC circuits: An application of Licht’smodel”The complexity of AC circuit concepts warrants the use of an instructional method that presentsthe concept in an iterative manner such that students come to appreciate the nature of alternatingcurrent while learning about the function of components in the circuit and their own operation. Itis the complex nature of alternating current and student’s lack of pre-conceived notions aboutelectricity that makes this task immensely difficult. This stems from students’ inability to linkAC circuit phenomena to everyday practices or experiences. Due to the nature of their learningcompounded by how they view the learning of scientific concepts, students will have a tendencyto rely heavily on concrete tasks and concepts which the abstract nature of AC circuits does noteasily comply with. As a result, improper instructional approaches to complex concepts such asAC circuits causes deeply rooted misconceptions when students attempt to assimilate the newknowledge of AC circuits with their current DC circuits framework. In order to increase studentsunderstanding of AC concepts, a new approach to instruction and course delivery is required inwhich AC circuits are taught as an entirely new concept while appealing to students’ inductiveand deductive reasoning ability. Using the five step model suggested by Licht (1991) whichincludes 1) using a phenomenological overview, 2) a macroscopic qualitative approach 3) amicroscopic approach 4) a macroscopic quantitative approach 5) a microscopic qualitativeapproach, this paper suggests the redesign on electrical courses aimed at increasing students’conceptual understanding about AC circuits. This work will not only provide information on aholistic approach to delivering and teaching AC circuit concepts but will also provide analternative framework that can be applied to teaching other complex scientific concepts.Licht, P. (1991). Teaching electrical energy, voltage and current: an alternative approach.Journal of Physics Education, 28, 272 - 277.
Pitterson, N. P., & Streveler, R. A. (2014, June), Increasing Students’ Conceptual Understanding of AC Circuits: An Application of Licht’s Model Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20630
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