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Mobile Studio Pedagogy, Part 1: Overcoming the Barriers that Impede Adoption

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

New Trends in ECE Education I

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.942.1 - 25.942.12



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Paper Authors


Kenneth A. Connor Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Kenneth Connor is a professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering, where he teaches courses on plasma physics, electromagnetics, electronics and instrumentation, electric power, and general engineering. His research involves plasma physics, electromagnetics, photonics, engineering education, diversity in the engineering workforce, and technology enhanced learning. Since joining the
Rensselaer faculty in 1974, he has been continuously involved in research programs at such places as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Universities of Texas and Wisconsin in the U.S., Kyoto, and Nagoya Universities in Japan, the Ioffe Institute in Russia, and Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology in Ukraine. He was ECSE Department Head from 2001-2008 and served on the board of the ECE Department Heads Association from 2003-2008. He is presently the Director of Education for the SMART LIGHTING NSF ERC.

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Dianna L. Newman University at Albany/SUNY

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Meghan Morris Deyoe University at Albany/SUNY

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Craig J. Scott Morgan State University

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Mohamed F. Chouikha Howard University


Yacob Astatke Morgan State University

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Yacob Astatke completed both his doctorate of engineering and B.S.E.E. degrees from Morgan State University (MSU) and his M.S.E.E. from Johns Hopkins University. He has been a full time faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at MSU since Aug. 1994 and currently serves as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. He teaches courses in both analog and digital electronic circuit design and instrumentation. Astatke has more than 10 years’ experience in the development and delivery of synchronous and asynchronous web-based ECE courses in the USA and abroad. He is the recipient of the 2012 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

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Overcoming the Barriers that Impede the Adoption of Mobile Studio Based Education and OutreachThe Mobile Studio I/O Board is a small, inexpensive hardware platform for use in a home,classroom or remote environment. When coupled with the Mobile Studio Desktop software, thesystem duplicates a large amount of the hardware often used to teach Electrical Engineering,Computer Engineering, Physics courses and K-12 technology courses. The project's goal is toenable hands-on exploration of STEM education principles, devices, and systems that havehistorically been restricted to expensive laboratory facilities. Similar hardware/softwareplatforms are now readily available from a variety of sources, most notably including NationalInstruments and Digilent. All make possible a new approach to education that has the potential tofundamentally change the kind of learning environment provided for students in STEM. Whileprevious papers have documented the many positive outcomes of use, many schools are reluctantto switch to this new method. A steady expansion of the number and kind of institutions adoptingMobile Studio pedagogy demonstrates that, while barriers do exist, they are being readilyovercome. The purpose of this paper is to address the barriers, both institutional andinstructional, that delay or hinder full implementation by examining the process of systemicchange at successful sites.The Mobile Studio learning platform originated at one school and then, with NSF CCLI support,began refinement and transfer to three schools, where it has been used to teach ECE courses forboth majors and non-majors. The schools include a research intensive university, an HBCU and aschool focused on undergraduate education. Essentially all electronics intensive courses at theseschools are now taught with Mobile Studio or a similar platform. With support from an NSFERC, the original 3 partners have expanded to 5 (adding another research university and anotherHBCU), plus several schools in Africa). Other schools also are now utilizing these tools,supported only by their own resources. For example: 1) another top research university haschanged their labs to be Mobile Studio based; 2) Mobile Studio is being used at a communitycollege, with several more 2 year schools about to begin their changeover; and 3) a major scale-up in Africa is about to commence.Documentation of relevance and usability is available; all of these programs utilize standardassessment tools as part of their accreditation procedures, and the core partners also useadditional pre and post surveys, interviews and observations to better understand how theapproach works as an educational experience for students. Some of the tools developed in thecore program are now also being applied at other schools for comparison purposes. Examinationof these institutions and their growing patterns of use have identified several common barriersrelated to organizational policies and infrastructure needs, and methods that can be used toovercome these barriers. More importantly, however, are the barriers and successful facilitatorsassociated with 1) faculty and staff expectations of institutional and learning approaches, and 2)faculty and student expectations of what student outcomes should be. This paper will summarizethese barriers and successful ways of coping with, decreasing, or eliminating them.

Connor, K. A., & Newman, D. L., & Deyoe, M. M., & Scott, C. J., & Chouikha, M. F., & Astatke, Y. (2012, June), Mobile Studio Pedagogy, Part 1: Overcoming the Barriers that Impede Adoption Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21699

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