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Java Programming For Engineers: Developing Courseware For A Computer Enhanced Curriculum

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.351.1 - 4.351.4

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Paper Authors

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J. A. Bragg

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Stephen P. DeWeerth

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Clinton D. Knight

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

Session 2532

Java Programming for Engineers: Developing Courseware for a Computer-Enhanced Curriculum

Julian A. Bragg, Clinton D. Knight, and Stephen P. DeWeerth Georgia Institute of Technology School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Atlanta, GA 30332-0250

The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech has embarked on a Computer Enhanced Education (CEE) initiative to augment the core ECE curriculum (courses in signal processing, circuits, digital systems, microelectronics, and electromagnetics). One of the goals of this initiative is the development of interactive, graphically based software that helps students gain intuition about the physical basis of many of the core ECE topics, an intuition that is often obscured when the topics are approached from a purely mathematical standpoint. The Java programming language provides an ideal platform for the development and for the dissemination, both in and out of the classroom, of this courseware.

In order to both stimulate the development of the CEE courseware and to introduce students to the powerful capabilities of modern programming languages, we have developed a course titled Java Programming for Engineers. This course introduces students to advanced programming concepts by exploring their use in the Java language. The instruction is leveraged in such a way that the students produce, as a final project, an engaging, interactive demonstration of a basic ECE concept; many of these demonstrations have already found their way into the classroom in other courses. The result is a course with dual, complementary goals: teaching Java-based programming concepts and developing computer-enhanced educational courseware.

I. Motivation

Engineering topics, especially those in Electrical and Computer Engineering, are often taught by first presenting the underlying equations and then, by exploring those equations, revealing the topic’s fundamental principles. This approach, while common, has the unfortunate effect of postponing intuitive understanding of the topic until well into the process, when the student has mastered the mathematics to the point that the “big picture” can be seen. In fact, many students learn the equations quite well, but never reach the point of truly understanding the principles illustrated by those equations.

A major goal of the CEE initiative is the development of courseware, and, in particular, software that allows students to gain an initial intuition about a core ECE topic in conjunction with the presentation of the equations. Thus, as they struggle with the often complex mathematics underlying that topic, they have the advantage of understanding how those mathematics fit into the system as a whole.

Bragg, J. A., & DeWeerth, S. P., & Knight, C. D. (1999, June), Java Programming For Engineers: Developing Courseware For A Computer Enhanced Curriculum Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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