Asee peer logo

Laboratory Enhancement Of Digital And Wireless Communications Courses

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.862.1 - 10.862.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jeff Frolik

Download Paper |

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

Session 1526

Laboratory Enhancement of Digital and Wireless Communications Courses

Jeff Frolik

University of Vermont


Over the past decade, the field of wireless communications has come into its own and is posed to become a ubiquitous technology with the recent arrival of 3G cellular, wireless local area networks and wireless sensor networks. As such, today’s graduating electrical engineers need marketable skills which are typically not developed in undergraduate curricula. This paper describes an ongoing program at the University of Vermont (UVM) which addresses this need through the integration of both wireless communication system test methods and device characterization techniques into its curriculum. In its first year, this program, enabled by a NSF CCLI A&I award, developed infrastructure and adapted experiments from the University of South Florida into a senior-level laboratory course1. Now in its second year, new experiments have been developed and have been integrated into a junior-level introductory communication systems course and two senior/graduate-level courses in digital and wireless communication systems. Herein, we discuss the new experiments, enabling infrastructure, and longitudinal assessment data.

Laboratory Enhancements

Our motivation for integrating laboratory exercises into existing courses was threefold. First and most importantly, we wanted to utilize hands-on activities to improve an individual student’s understanding of telecommunication concepts. Second, we wanted to give the students early exposure to relevant test equipment (namely, spectrum analyzers) utilized in the senior- level laboratory course, Telecommunications Lab. Finally, we wanted to develop basic measurement skills so that students have the appropriate background to work on team-based investigations in the area of modern communications. The three courses to be discussed are Intro to Communication Systems, Digital Communications and Wireless Communication Systems. Laboratory exercises are summarized herein but the author encourages interested parties to visit the project website for details:

Intro to Communication Systems Among other concepts, this course deals with the theory behind modulation, spectral analysis and the fundamentals of digital communications. These concepts are reinforced using the lab exercises described in Table 1. In addition, these labs give students their first exposure to of the use of RF signal generators and spectrum analyzers. The lab assignments constitute 10% of the student’s final grade. Students nominally take the course in the junior year as a follow-on

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Frolik, J. (2005, June), Laboratory Enhancement Of Digital And Wireless Communications Courses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15072

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: © 2005 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