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Redesigned Electrical Circuit Lab Course to Face the Challenges of Remote Learning

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

New Directions for Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Chen Xu New York City College of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Chen Xu is an Assistant Professor at Computer Engineering Technology department in New York City College of Technology. She received her Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Connecticut.Her research areas of interest are in biomedical sensors and instrumentation, image processing, signal processing, and non-invasive medical test.

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This paper is a work-in-progress (WIP) paper about our practice to adjust to remote learning in an electrical circuit lab course. Electrical Circuits (EMT 1150) is a first-year engineering gateway course for Electromechanical Engineering Technology (EMT) Associate in Applied Science (AAS) students. It is a five-credit course with a combined 3.3 hours lecture sessions and 2.5 hours laboratory session every week, which introduces students to the physical basis and mathematical models of electrical components and circuits. Topics include basic engineering language, Ohm’s Law, Watt’s Law, resistance, series, parallel, series-parallel circuits, network theorems, equivalent circuits, capacitive and inductive circuits, and sinusoidal ac inputs. Laboratory work is performed on a breadboard using the digital multimeter, oscilloscope, and function generator. In the regular face-to-face teaching mode, this course had a high failure and withdraw rate, average about 30% in the past ten consecutive semesters. Our institution,the New York City College of Technology, abruptly switched to distance learning mode in Spring 2020 and continues to offer all courses online in Fall 2020. This paper presents our effort to redesign the contents, applications, and assessments of this course to face the challenges of teaching an online hands-on lab class. We also want to implement the advantages of remote learning, such as the flexibility and numerous methods to deliver information, into this course. The arrangements we made to adjust to the remote learning mode include: 1) redesign of the lab contents into 11 lab experiments in four modules; 2) clearly specify the corresponding learning objectives; 3) integrate the connection between breadboard and Multisim simulation software; 4) create the supporting learning activities; 5) develop learning assessments at different stages, 6) promote communication between lab instructors and lecture instructor to synchronize the progress, and 7) make efforts to build a learning community between students. This paper will present student performance comparisons with traditional face-to-face teaching mode, and summarize challenges throughout the semester and lessons learned. This paper will be of interest to any engineering educator who teaches hands-on lab class remotely or anyone interested in improving their current lab course with online resources.

Xu, C. (2021, July), Redesigned Electrical Circuit Lab Course to Face the Challenges of Remote Learning Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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