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Introducing Multidisciplinary Novel Content Through Laboratory Exercises On Real World Applications

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.972.1 - 12.972.15



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Paper Authors


Robi Polikar Rowan University

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ROBI POLIKAR is an Associate Professor with the Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. His research interests include signal processing, pattern recognition and computational intelligence. He teaches wavelet theory, pattern recognition, neural networks and biomedical systems at Rowan. He is a member of IEEE and ASEE, as well as Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.

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Ravi Ramachandran Rowan University

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RAVI RAMACHANDRAN is a Professor with the Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. His research interests include signal and speech processing, speaker verification. He teaches systems and control, signal processing, speech processing, adaptive filters and DSP architectures at Rowan. He is a member of IEEE and ASEE.

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Linda Head Rowan University

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LINDA HEAD is an Associate Professor with the Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. Her research interests include semiconductor reliability, VLSI design and their applications to DSP as well as neurophysiology. She teaches VLSI systems, electric networks, ASIC design for DSP and biomedical electives at Rowan. She is a member of IEEE, ASEE and SWE.

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Maria Tahamont Rowan University

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MARIA TAHAMONT is a Professor with the Department of Biological Sciences at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is primarily interested in human physiology, women in science, science education and reform, scientific literacy, issues of diversity and democracy in higher education. She teaches courses several courses related to human anatomy and physiology at Rowan.

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

Introducing Multidisciplinary Novel Content through Laboratory Exercises on Real World Applications

Robi Polikar1, Ravi P. Ramachandran1, Linda M. Head1 and Maria Tahamont2 1 Electrical and Comp. Eng, 2Biological Sciences, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ.

Abstract: One of the primary missions of any engineering program is to provide a well-rounded education that combines all fundamental concepts of the given area with an adequate exposure to relevant contemporary areas. However, the exponentially growing body of knowledge – particularly in emerging areas of engineering sciences – makes this mission an increasingly challenging proposition. More novel content from emerging areas need to be integrated into the curriculum to ensure that our students can be successful in today’s competitive job market. On the other hand, the economic and political realities of today’s academic environment restrict the number of credits a program can require for degree completion. The challenge, then, is to be able to provide as much meaningful and cohesive exposure to emerging / contemporary areas without sacrificing the fundamental background while keeping the credit count minimally effected, or preferably, unchanged.

We have previously reported the preliminary assessment of our proposed approach, which consists of reconfiguring a time-honored teaching tool to integrate novel content into existing curriculum. We developed laboratory exercises distributed over the entire four year curriculum, which were integrated into existing core and elective courses. The exercises were designed to provide multidisciplinary novel content in emerging areas that relate to focus areas of existing courses. In our implementation, we use bioengineering/biotechnology (BME) as the multidisciplinary emerging topic area, and electrical/computer engineering (ECE) as the core curriculum. Since our initial report two years ago, which was based on a couple of experiments, we have developed several new laboratory exercises, and more importantly followed students who went through the four years of integrated BME content. In this paper, we present our implementation and assessment details, and some surprising outcomes we have observed since our previous preliminary assessment. We discuss many advantages, but also some potential pitfalls of this approach, along with lessons learned along the way.

1. Introduction

Thanks to increased world-wide support to research and development, there has been a tremendous growth in the scientific and engineering body of knowledge. Such knowledge allows us to solve increasingly challenging and complex problems that cross the boundaries of traditional disciplines. An efficient solution of such problems, however, requires the synergistic combination of expertise in multiple areas. Consequently, students graduating from today’s engineering programs can no longer be competitive in tomorrow’s job market, by having a strong background only in their specific chosen areas of study. They need reasonably adequate exposure and background in relevant emerging areas as well. Only then, they will be equipped with the necessary skills to quickly acquire expertise in a new area demanded by their current position. As engineering educators, our challenge is to be able to provide them with an

Polikar, R., & Ramachandran, R., & Head, L., & Tahamont, M. (2007, June), Introducing Multidisciplinary Novel Content Through Laboratory Exercises On Real World Applications Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1730

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