Asee peer logo

Putting Theory Into Practice With Simulink

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Computers in Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1046.1 - 10.1046.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

John Turner

author page

Joseph Hoffbeck

Download Paper |

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

Putting Theory into Practice with Simulink John Turner, Joseph P. Hoffbeck University of Portland


Many students prefer to learn by induction (starting with specifics and working toward the general theories). However, engineering classes are traditionally taught with a deductive approach (starting with general theories and working toward specifics). This paper discusses how the software package Simulink can be used to bring an inductive element into a digital signal processing (DSP) course which allows the students to experiment with the theory and to directly experience the results of the processing. This process gives the students immediate feedback on whether they have correctly understood the theory, and allows the students to be active learners. An example project is described that allows the students to implement the audio processing tasks of flanging, chorusing, and reverb without any programming, and allows the students to hear the results in real-time.


Digital signal processing (DSP), like many courses in engineering, is very theoretical and mathematical, yet has many practical and interesting applications. Often the course is taught in a deductive style where the general theories are presented and then applications of the theories are explored. Until they study the applications, many students find it difficult to follow the mathematical presentation of the theory, and may become discouraged.

One solution to this problem is to give the students a set of tools that allow them to experiment with the theory to verify the theory and to test their understanding of the theory. The students can then become active learners engaged with the material by designing their own experiments, making observations, and reflecting on the results.

The software package Simulink from The MathWorks, Inc. can be used to model and simulate a variety of systems in a high-level, block diagram format without any low-level programming. Many papers discuss how Simulink can be used as an effective teaching tool in areas such as electronic control systems,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 dynamic systems,11,12,13,14,15,16 mechanical systems,17,18,19,20 microcontrollers,21 linear systems,22,23 and DSP 24,25,26,27. This paper is within the scope of DSP and exclusively covers the processing of audio signals. Such processing is brought up in a musical context by recreating popular audio effects, an approach that is not widely taken in this field. What is more, this paper describes specific parameters, how to adjust them in Simulink, and how they theoretically affect the filter in question, making it a practical guide for any reader to get up and running quickly. By using such an approach, the potentially difficult and abstract realm of signal processing is brought down to earth. The end result is an

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Turner, J., & Hoffbeck, J. (2005, June), Putting Theory Into Practice With Simulink Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14186

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015