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Modified Studio Lab Classroom Used To Teach Electrical And Computer Engineering To Non Engineers

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Laboratory Developments and Innovations

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.861.1 - 8.861.11



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Paper Authors

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Robert Voigt

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Robert Ives

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Jesko Hagee

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

Session 2354

Modified Studio Lab-Classroom Used to Teach Electrical and Computer Engineering to Non-Engineers

Robert J. Voigt, Robert Ives, Jesko M. Hagee U.S. Naval Academy


This paper addresses a solution to the challenge of teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering to non-engineering majors. All non-engineering students at the Naval Academy are enrolled in a two course Electrical Engineering sequence as a core requirement. There are many challenges in teaching this type of course. For example, the students have various mathematical abilities, most being humanities majors while others may major in Math or Physics. There is a diversity of learning styles in this mixed student population and, as a result, we have chosen to implement an interactive learning environment which we have found to be very suitable. The approach is a hands-on, learn by doing, integrated laboratory/classroom approach. To accomplish this, we constructed several studio classrooms, modified versions of those in use at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). One major difference is the number of students per section; ours are much smaller than RPI. Another difference is the need to teach a variety of subjects in the same classroom/lab. The two-course sequence covers everything from basic circuits and motors/generators to digital communications and networks. Our class sizes are small and there is a great deal of interaction between the students, working in teams and individually. In this paper we shall address the preparations required to offer this course including the equipment set-up, the room layout, the syllabus, lesson objectives and scheduling of the rooms. The assessment of the success of this model will be addressed, although it may be years before we gather enough data to have any statistical significance. We illustrate the importance of cooperative and collaborative learning in this environment and show how we have integrated these concepts into the courses. Finally, we present an overall assessment of this course from both the students’ and instructors’ points of view.

I. Background

The United States Naval Academy is unique in many ways. For one, we hire all of our own graduates. While they may choose different areas of the service to serve upon graduation, they are all Navy or Marine Corps officers in a military that is as technically complex as it has ever been. Thus, all of our graduates, no matter which major they choose, take a rigorous technical core. This core includes three semesters of Calculus, two semesters each of Physics and Chemistry and among other engineering courses, two semesters of Electrical Engineering. This two semester course sequence is designed to prepare the students to be able to understand, at a most basic level, the equipment they will be responsible for operating and maintaining in the fleet. A secondary goal of these courses is to instill in the student an ability to solve complex problems through the use of critical thinking skills. Up until recently, the humanities majors took only a single semester course in Electrical Engineering. Fleet input from a 1997 survey, however, indicated that our graduates were not fully prepared to deal with the high level of

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Voigt, R., & Ives, R., & Hagee, J. (2003, June), Modified Studio Lab Classroom Used To Teach Electrical And Computer Engineering To Non Engineers Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12139

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