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Passive Circuits for Active Learning Revisited

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Active Learning in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.971.1 - 24.971.11



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Paper Authors


Scott L. Post Bradley University

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Scott Post received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. He is currently an Associate Professor at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. He has previously worked as an Assistant Professor at Michigan Technological University. He has also been a summer Faculty Fellow at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, and a Visiting Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Passive Circuits for Active Learning RevisitedAbstractThe pedagogical literature has consistently and repeatedly shown that active learning is moreeffective than passive learning in teaching students fundamental engineering concepts, yet thelecture persists as the primary method of classroom organization for the vast majority ofprofessors. Even among those professors who have read the literature and are willing to changetheir teaching methods, a barrier to adoption of active learning strategies is the time and effortrequired to develop the classroom activities for a particular course. This paper describes a seriesof experiments that can be done in class with low-cost equipment in an introductory circuitscourse. In each class period, a brief lecture at the beginning of the course went over the relativecircuit theory, such as Ohm’s Law and Kirchoff’s laws. Then a numerical example was workedout by the instructor for a given circuit. Finally the students are instructed to build a circuitcorresponding the example problem and make the necessary measurements to verify the theory.The class was divided into teams of four students each, and each team was given an equipmentpack during the first week of class. The equipment packs included a budget digital multimeter(DMM), a number of resistors, a capacitor, LED, hobby-size DC motor, 9V battery, and alligatorclips for connecting the components. Students were instructed to bring the equipment packsevery day to class, and they were also given homework assignments that required the use of theequipment packs. Though some breakage will occur and batteries may be accidentallydischarged, the equipment packs can be re-used from year to year. Once the initial investmenthas been made, further upgrades with additional components can also be done in subsequentyears. This paper contains a complete list of experiments that can easily be implemented by otherinstructors, and is also suitable for use in “flipped” classrooms.

Post, S. L. (2014, June), Passive Circuits for Active Learning Revisited Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22904

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