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Integrated System Level Design In Electrical Engineering

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

ECE Curriculum Innovations

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.777.1 - 11.777.15



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Paper Authors

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Cynthia Furse University of Utah Orcid 16x16

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Behrouz Farhang-Boroujeny University of Utah


Stephanie Richardson University of Utah

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Dr. Richardson received her B.S. in Public Health Education in 1976, her B.S. in Nursing in 1978, her M.S. in Nursing in 1986 and her Ph.D. in Nursing in 1997. She is an associate professor at the University of Utah and she holds an administrative appointment as the Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence in conjunction with the Graduate School and Undergraduate Studies. As Director, she is responsible for promoting outstanding teaching practice and scholarship across campus. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in research, leadership, and teaching. She is currently involved in several research studies on best practices in teaching in higher education, and is leading two groups of faculty scholars who are investigating research projects regarding teaching in their disciplines.

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Rohit Verma University of Utah


April Kedrowicz University of Utah

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April Kedrowicz is the director of the University of Utah Center for Engineering Leadership (CLEAR). She is commited to fostering excellence in communication through interdisciplinary collaboration. April's academic focus is organizational communication. She did her bachelor's and master's work at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and her doctoral work at the University of Utah. Current research interests include communication in nonprofit organizations, social support, communication across the curriculum, speaking and writing in the disciplines, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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Bryan Stenquist University of Utah

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Bryan Stenquist received his BSEE degree from the university of Utah in 2005 and is currently a Research Engineer at the University of Utah in charge of implementing hands-on project-based laboratories across the ECE curriculum.

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

Integrated System-Level Design in Electrical and Computer Engineering Abstract

This paper describes an NSF-sponsored department level curriculum reform project in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Utah. The project focuses on developing system-level design projects (mostly labs, but a few software-only projects) that integrate ideas within a class, between classes, and in some cases between disciplines. Written and oral communication is also stressed throughout this program. Materials are available for use by other educators via the PI (Furse) or the website1.

Introduction This paper reports on a department level curriculum reform project to integrate system-level design projects throughout an otherwise relatively traditional undergraduate electrical and computer engineering program at the University of Utah. Engineering students commonly receive a good fundamental education covering a relatively diverse set of topics both in and outside their direct discipline. Relatively few experiences exist in their formal education for combining these diverse concepts into a functional engineering system, however this is exactly what they are expected to do upon graduation. This project integrates system level design experiences at all levels of the engineering curriculum in several ways:

• Integrate individual labs within a course into a system-level design • Integrate multiple courses via system-level design lab projects. • Integrate multiple courses through teaming on projects • Enhance the junior-level design experience with formal training in project management, entrepreneurialism, and system integration. (This is an interdisciplinary initiative between the Colleges of Business and Engineering.) • Utilizing an enhanced “Write/Speak to Learn” program to help the students better understand the systems they design.

Methods The ECE curriculum is relatively traditional and is shown in Table 1. All of the required ECE courses already include a laboratory component, and it is these laboratories that are being adapted to include project-based system designs. Typically, the basic concepts being taught in the labs remain very similar to what they were without the system level design, however these basic concepts are integrated to build a device. For example, in the Electromagnetics course, the lab always included measurement of impedance, power attenuation, antenna matching, etc. Now, in conjunction with the Signals labs, the students build a prototype communication system for a cardiac pacemaker. Combining these two courses allows the students to see how each set of otherwise disparate concepts are applied, and how they are related to each other. Other projects include a Biosensor system, AM Broadcasting system, Frequency Shift Keyed Wireless Local Area Network (FSK WLAN), Magnetic Levitation Control System, Motor Control

Furse, C., & Farhang-Boroujeny, B., & Richardson, S., & Verma, R., & Kedrowicz, A., & Stenquist, B. (2006, June), Integrated System Level Design In Electrical Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1059

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: © 2006 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