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Preparation Of A Virtual Toolkit For Communication Systems

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Computers in Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.933.1 - 7.933.13



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Paper Authors

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Kathrine Nguru

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Murat Tanyel

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

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Session 1520


Murat Tanyel, Kathrine Nguru Dordt College


Communication Systems is offered at senior level as a three-credit, one semester course at Dordt College. Due to the number of topics covered, it turns out to be a very compact course with little time for experimentation. However, the course content is rich with processes that are best described by block diagrams which should come alive as students implement these processes and have a chance to test signals at each block. In order to facilitate such an experimental environment with limited institutional resources and student time for hardware implementations, a virtual toolkit of computer simulations was developed using LabVIEW. LabVIEW’s graphical interface with live help windows and other visual feedback rendered this project achievable and enjoyable even for a freshman student programmer. This paper will recount the project both from a professor’s point of view and from that of a freshman student, who did not know about the programming language nor about the processes she was to simulate at the onset of the project. The paper will also describe the toolkit prepared to demonstrate a wide variety of topics covered in a typical communication systems course and present some examples of the virtual instruments (VIs) developed.

I. Introduction

The undergraduate engineering education environment is very different from the environment that the senior author has experienced. The personal computer has now become ubiquitous and more powerful than the mainframe computers of the late 70’s and early 80’s while the educational utilization of the computer has been transformed from writing specific programs in FORTRAN for carrying out calculations for individual problems to mastering specialized applications for simulations or for data acquisition/processing. With the proliferation of special purpose applications, undergraduate electrical engineering courses have been enriched with computer simulations with many textbooks incorporating some form of computer-aided tool1. Simulations have made 'what if' type investigations possible even in situations where accessing the actual hardware to experiment with is, for one reason or another, impractical. Whereas simulations fail to achieve some of the goals of hardware hands-on exercises, they still present much more powerful alternatives to static textbook examples, allowing playful interaction with the simulated system.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Nguru, K., & Tanyel, M. (2002, June), Preparation Of A Virtual Toolkit For Communication Systems Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10156

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