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New Three Level Undergraduate Curriculum For Teaching Electrical Energy Subjects

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

New Ideas in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.945.1 - 9.945.8



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Law

author page

Herbert Hess

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

Session 2533

New Three-Level Undergraduate Curriculum for Teaching Electrical Energy Subjects Herbert L. Hess, Joseph D. Law, Brian K. Johnson University of Idaho

Abstract A new approach to an electric power and energy curriculum is presented. Student interests appear in three categories: those who take only one introductory course for breadth, those who want the greatest available depth of study in power and energy topics, and those who will study another area of electrical engineering in depth but find understanding power and energy topics helpful to their anticipated role as a customer. Curriculum structure fits these three categories. Details of topics considered appropriate for each category are discussed, including laboratory program.

Introduction A carefully designed balance characterizes the structure of an undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum. Giving the student an introduction to the breadth of knowledge that meets the desired outcomes is of primary importance at the undergraduate level. It is also important to provide some depth of study in a particular field that the student may propose to enter. The structure of a good electrical engineering curriculum institutionalizes this balance.

Employers have been clear in their expectation that any electrical engineering graduates that they hire should possess a strong foundation in a broad range of fundamentals. This breadth of fundamental knowledge and skills must be taught well. In the curriculum at hand at the University of Idaho, these fundamentals are defined within five areas of study: analog electronics, power and energy, electromagnetics, digital electronics, and systems. In this fivefold structure, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department organizes its faculty expertise and even its assigned course numbers. To illustrate this structure, the ECE Department’s undergraduate course offerings are listed in Table 1, sorted by area of study. At the junior level, students must take one course and one lab in each of the five areas (shown in boldface in the Junior Year Courses column in Table 1). This requirement provides an introduction and a foundation of common topics across the available breadth of electrical engineering practice. At the senior level, the ECE Department requires that each student take at least one course in three of the five areas of study. The specific courses designed to provide this breadth are shown in boldface in the Senior Year Courses column of Table 1. Most, but not all, areas have a senior-level lab requirement. This structure provides a strong breadth in the fundamental topics that the department offers.

Most students express an interest in obtaining some depth of knowledge in a particular field of study. Certain employers have often requested this as well. To meet this need, the ECE

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Law, J., & Johnson, B., & Hess, H. (2004, June), New Three Level Undergraduate Curriculum For Teaching Electrical Energy Subjects Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13215

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