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Portable Cyber Laboratories For Electrical Engineering Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.956.1 - 15.956.20



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Paper Authors

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Steve Warren Kansas State University


Jianchu Yao East Carolina University

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Jianchu (Jason) Yao received a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 2005. Dr. Yao joined East Carolina University as an Assistant Professor in August, 2005. His research interests include wearable medical devices, telehealthcare, bioinstrumentation, control systems, and biosignal processing. His educational research interests are laboratory/project-driven learning and integration of research into undergraduate education. Dr. Yao is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

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

Portable Cyber-Laboratories for Electrical Engineering Education


Laboratories that address Electrical Engineering (EE) concepts often require expensive bench- top equipment, and numerous students can be difficult to accommodate in these crowded spaces. Additionally, static laboratory tools are increasingly incompatible with the lifestyles of today’s students, who are accustomed to mobile resources like laptop computers and cell phones that host multimedia interfaces which enliven the user experience. This paper describes a new collaboration between the Kansas State University (KSU) Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and the East Carolina University (ECU) Department of Engineering, General Engineering whose overall goal is to develop mobile hands-on learning experiences for EE concepts and then formally assess whether laboratories performed at home are effective supplements for traditional lecture- and laboratory-based courses.

To this end, the project team is developing an affordable, portable circuit prototyping kit whose primary component is a printed circuit board that hosts a National Instruments (NI) myDAQ data acquisition module (which includes a ±5 V power supply, a function generator, and a digital multimeter), a large breadboard, and numerous multimedia connectors. The carrying case that holds this board also contains a desktop power supply and a parts/tools storage area. The myDAQ module communicates over a USB interface with LabVIEW virtual instruments (VIs) that run on either a laptop or handheld computer. This kit design is an upgrade to a Rapid Analysis & Signal Conditioning Laboratory (RASCL) unit that has already demonstrated promise for courses that address circuit theory, signals, and systems.

Initial development and assessment activities target (a) upper-level KSU undergraduates that enroll in ECE 512: Linear Systems and ECE 772: Biomedical Instrumentation and (b) upper- level ECU undergraduates that enroll in ICEE 3014: Electric Circuit Analysis and ICEE 3050: Instrumentation and Controls. The VI-based modules address fundamental learning objectives identified by ABET and the Sloan Foundation in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. Selected objectives from these three domains are being assessed via student surveys, concept inventories, Fundamentals of Engineering exam performance, and laboratory observations. Higher-level learning is designed into each module, and biomedical applications are emphasized to increase student interest.

I. Introduction Laboratories are integral to engineering education. They authenticate theory, deepen understanding, sharpen hands-on skills, and promote enthusiasm for the profession.1 Laboratories that address Electrical Engineering (EE) concepts require expensive benchtop equipment, and numerous students are difficult to accommodate in crowded laboratories. Static laboratory tools are also increasingly incompatible with today’s students, who are accustomed to mobile resources like laptop computers that give them lifestyle flexibility and host multimedia interfaces that enliven the user experience.

Warren, S., & Yao, J. (2010, June), Portable Cyber Laboratories For Electrical Engineering Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16916

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