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Integrated Laboratory Curricula and Course Projects across the Electronics Engineering Technology Program

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

ETD Design I: Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.894.1 - 22.894.14



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Paper Authors


Wei Zhan Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Wei Zhan is an Assistant Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Zhan earned his D.Sc. in Systems Science from Washington University in 1991. From 1995 to 2006, he worked in the automotive industry as a system engineer. In 2006, he joined the Electronics Engineering Technology faculty at Texas A&M University. His research activities include control system theory and applications to industry, system engineering, robust design, modeling, simulation, quality control, and optimization.

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Ana Elisa P. Goulart Texas A&M University

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Ana Goulart is currently an assistant professor at the Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering Technology Program at Texas A&M. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a M.Sc. in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University. Her research interests include protocols for real-time communications, IP telephony, wireless networks, and engineering education.

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Joseph A. Morgan Texas A&M University


Jay R Porter Texas A&M University

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Jay R. Porter joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in 1998 and is currently Professor and Program Director for the Electronics and Telecommunications Programs. He received the BS degree in electrical engineering (1987), the MS degree in physics (1989), and the Ph.D. in electrical engineering (1993) from Texas A&M University. His areas of interest in research and education include product development, analog/RF electronics, instrumentation, and entrepreneurship.

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  Vertical Integration of Laboratory Curricula and Course Projects across the Electronic Engineering Technology ProgramAbstractOne of the emphases for undergraduate Engineering Technology education is hands-onexperience gained through laboratory classes and course projects. Almost every junior or seniorlevel course in ET programs at ______ University has a course project. The curricula are thuspacked with projects each demanding the students’ time. During past two years, many studentscomplained about the work load they were assigned to in different course projects. Somestudents even tried to come up with strategies such as forming the same team for several projectswith certain team members working on one project only. This can hurt the motivation forlearning for the students; have a negative impact on future students recruiting; and create manyother problems. On the other hand, reducing the contents of the course projects is not the bestsolution to this problem since most of the faculty members involved felt that they assigned thestudents what was necessary for the students to learn in their courses. To address this problem, acurricular development effort has been started by several faculty members within the ElectronicEngineering Technology (EET) program. This paper discusses the detail of the curriculardevelopment effort, which includes the vertical integration of software tools used throughout theEET program and a common platform for course projects. Multisim/Ultiboard and LabVIEW arefirst introduced and used in a sophomore course. These software tools are then used in severalother junior and senior level courses. Through early and repeated exposure to these tools,students can learn to use them more effectively in solving various engineering problems. A DCpermanent magnetic motor is identified as one of the common platforms for multiple courseprojects. By using a common platform for different course projects, the students can spend muchless time to prepare for the course projects. It also allows for seamless integration of differentcourse projects into a continuous effort to build a system with multiple functionalities. Thestudents will learn the principle of motor in a sophomore class. Using simulation and laboratorytesting, the motor will be fully characterized. In a junior level instrumentation course, thestudents will then build sensors to monitor variables such as the motor speed, current, andtemperature. Signal conditioning circuit will be built and the signal will be sent to amicroprocessor for further processing. The microprocessor then sends the signal to a centralcontroller via fieldbus communication protocol. A communication and a control course projectscan be based on this common platform.Initial result shows that the student work load is reduced without compromising their learning.As an effort to continually improve our education program, the effectiveness of the proposedvertical curriculum integration will be quantitatively and qualitatively monitored through studentand faculty surveys, feedback from former students, and results of examinations.

Zhan, W., & Goulart, A. E. P., & Morgan, J. A., & Porter, J. R. (2011, June), Integrated Laboratory Curricula and Course Projects across the Electronics Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18202

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