July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Electrical and Computer
Raising interest in STEM among high school students is an important continuing need. K-12 students have less exposure to electrical engineering (EE) than to many other STEM subjects. Within EE, the focus is often on introducing students to electronics, such as electrical circuits, microprocessor programming and system integration. However, EE spans a much broader spectrum. The topics of communications and networking are often not presented to high school students at all, and students are unaware of the fascinating challenges connected with careers in this direction.
The current pandemic, entailing remote education, offers a unique opportunity to teach communications and networking. Remote delivery platforms such as Zoom can be leveraged to illustrate communications and networking concepts in new interactive ways. Essentially, as a communication platform itself, Zoom allows us to be “hands-on” with these topics. For example: * Sharing the Zoom voice channel enables students to experiment with medium access techniques for contending in a shared medium. * Signaling with squares of gray shades demonstrates the trade-off between communication speed and reliability. Two-level signaling (black and white) transmits one bit per channel, whereas 4-level and 8-level gray squares allow higher data rates with lower reliability. * MIMO concepts of antenna diversity are introduced by having students observe others “transmitting” redundantly with gray squares from their own local lighting conditions and using a majority vote of the group of “receivers”. * Similarly, concepts of networking leverage Zoom chat features, with students sending private messages to each other in a predefined topology.
In this paper, we will describe our experiences with implementing a set of such remotely-taught modules on wireless communication and networking offered to high school students. These modules combine write-ups and interactive Zoom sessions that leverage Zoom features to engage students and have them experiment with the lesson concepts.
Effectiveness was evaluated through pre- and post-surveys of the intervention as whole, together with surveys after each module. In addition to serving as guides towards improving the program, the surveys aimed to gauge students’ views of EE and their interest in pursuing studies in this field, as well as the effectiveness of Zoom as a tool for offering this content. It is unclear whether student attitudes were affected towards engineering as a career, as the participating students were already showing a STEM-heavy focus. However, the modules were rated as interesting and interactive, and the effectiveness of leveraging Zoom features clearly stood out, indicating that these topics offer a unique opportunity in a remote environment. We will present these results and lessons learned. While the current pandemic-induced remote education situation will not endure indefinitely, we believe that these educational materials and approach will provide an ongoing opportunity to offer EE-centric STEM outreach to high school students in remote and rural areas who are often left out of university-based STEM outreach events and the many STEM events offered in cities.
Presentation preference = Regular presentation
Schurgers, C., & Bae, Y., & Lee, E. H., & Nevarez, C., & Cosman, P. (2021, July), Introducing Communications to High School Students by Leveraging Zoom as a Communications Platform Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37378
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