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Its 2010 And The New Electronics Technology Paradigm Is Emerging

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Issues and Directions in Engineering Technology Education & Administration: Part I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.819.1 - 15.819.11



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Paper Authors

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Gary Mullett Springfield Technical Community College

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

Its 2010 and the new Electronics Technology Paradigm is Emerging


Many faculty members at the two-year college level have struggled with outdated electronics technology curriculums over the past decade or more. Long gone are the days of repairing electronics systems to the parts level and the effectiveness of teaching the technology in a component centric manner. Moore’s Law has accurately predicted the number of transistors on a chip for more than four decades now and gigascale integrated circuits that allow systems-on-a- chip technology are no longer a prophecy of the future. With the convergence of several electronics based enabling technologies there is starting to be an obvious shift in the electronics technology paradigm. That shift is towards what has been classified in varying disciplines as: intelligent infrastructure, enhanced systems, ambient intelligence, and the Internet of Things. The most important technologies in this convergence are sophisticated embedded microcontrollers, networking technologies (i.e. wireless), intelligent sensors and actuators, and reconfigurable hardware. The new electronics technology paradigm is one of complex networked systems that are a combination of hardware, software, and communications. Recently, through a growing concern about energy usage and the possible effects of climate change the United States government has, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, put together an initiative to modernize the country’s electrical grid. To, in effect, create a “smart grid.” This extremely ambitious initiative is a coalescing point for the converging technologies cited previously but one would be hard pressed to find any two-year electronics technology programs that teach these technologies from a systems level perspective and that are ready to train the workforce that will be needed for this particular initiative or for others like it as we implement evermore enhanced networked systems in our buildings, vehicles, along our highways, and anywhere that they can improve efficiency, safety, and security.


Five years ago, this author delivered a paper at the American Society of Engineering Educators (ASEE) 2005 annual conference1. The title of the paper was, The 2010 Gigascale Imperative: Why the instruction of electronics technology must change! The paper was submitted in an attempt to call attention to what the author felt was a growing and potentially critical problem that was slowly but surely affecting the education of students enrolled in associate degree programs in electronics engineering technology (EET) type programs, especially at two-year colleges, and, furthermore, bound to affect these students even more negatively as time went on. The problem (as it was perceived then) was that the typical curriculum of these legacy programs, with their emphasis on the electronic components of prior decades (that were used to construct the electronic systems of the day), was becoming woefully disconnected from the skill sets that these students would need in the future. The paper’s contents addressed several crucial topics: it examined why the curriculum had come to be the way it was, the author’s theory as to the root cause or driving force of the problem, and why the problem would be exacerbated as time when on. The paper also considered the oblique role of the faculty and the more than considerable influence of textbook publisher’s to a widespread resistance to change. Finally, the paper made a

Mullett, G. (2010, June), Its 2010 And The New Electronics Technology Paradigm Is Emerging Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15793

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