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Promoting Critical Thinking Through Troubleshooting Exercises in Fundamental Electric Circuits Labs

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Electrical/Electronic ET Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count

12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--30905

Permanent URL

https://cms.jee.org/30905

Download Count

147

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Paper Authors

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Joe Delvicario University of Hartford

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Joe Delvicario began his college education with the University of Hartford's Audio Engineering and Technology program. He intended to work at a recording studio after graduating. However, while on this journey, the technology classes in this program inspired him to reorient his goals, towards a future in electrical engineering. It was a natural fit to take this newfound passion for electronics and begin sharing it with new students as an adjunct instructor at the University of Hartford, . At the same time, he began to pursue a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is looking forward to continuing a future in Electronics.

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Dominick Gerard Lauria University of Hartford

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Dominick Lauria is currently an adjunct professor and graduate student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Hartford. He earned a BS degree in Audio Engineering Technology from the University of Hartford. He has two years of industry experience including: rigid-flex PCB design for submarine communications systems and professional audio equipment repair and manufacturing. Dominick Lauria's research interests include: audio equipment design, PCB design and manufacturing, communication systems, and renewable energy storage systems.

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Patricia Mellodge University of Hartford

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Patricia Mellodge is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Hartford. She received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island. Her graduate work was completed at Virginia Tech where she received an M.S. in Mathematics and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.

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Ying Yu University of Hartford

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Dr. Ying Yu received her B.Eng. from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, in 2000. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Brown University, R.I., USA, in 2003 and 2007, respectively. Currently, she is teaching as an associate professor of the S. I. Ward Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Hartford. Her current research interests are audio and speech signal processing, promoting critical thinking through the engineering curriculum, promoting diversity and inclusion in the academic environment, and teaching with new educational methods, including peer instruction, personal response systems, video games, and state-of-the-art CAD tools.

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Abstract

This paper presents a study conducted in the fall semester of 2017 that aimed to promote students’ critical thinking through a series of newly-designed troubleshooting exercises embedded in fundamental DC electric circuits labs for engineering technology first-year students.

Three circuit troubleshooting sessions were purposefully designed and embedded throughout the course of the semester. For each session, students investigated several different scenarios in which the given circuits were not working. The complexity of the given circuits increased as the semester progressed with the increasing theoretical knowledge of the students. Each scenario challenged students to identify and solve one or more unknown faults in the circuit. After each session, instructors used students’ troubleshooting plan, reflective discussions, and conclusions in their reports to evaluate students’ critical thinking skills. A newly-designed critical thinking rubric refined for circuits troubleshooting was distributed to all instructors for assessment purpose.

According to the instructors’ evaluation of students’ troubleshooting reports, about 38% of students who completed all troubleshooting activities and assignments showed significant improvement in their troubleshooting skills. According to the student surveys, about 86% of students agree or strongly agree that troubleshooting exercises helped them improve their troubleshooting skills; about 83% of students agree or strongly agree that troubleshooting exercises helped them improve their critical thinking skills; about 53% of students agree or strongly agree that troubleshooting exercises helped them perform better in other labs and projects; about 56% of students agree or strongly agree that troubleshooting exercises helped them better understand the theory introduced in the lectures.

Sample troubleshooting exercises, troubleshooting rubric, detailed student performance evaluation data, students’ and instructors’ feedback, and future plans for improvement are presented.

* Appearance of authors is in alphabetical order by last name.

Delvicario, J., & Lauria, D. G., & Mellodge, P., & Yu, Y. (2018, June), Promoting Critical Thinking Through Troubleshooting Exercises in Fundamental Electric Circuits Labs Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30905

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