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Revitalizing Multidisciplinary Electricity Courses: A Comparative Study

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1072.1 - 9.1072.9



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Youakim Kalaani

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

Session 3150

Revitalizing Multidisciplinary Electricity Courses: A Comparative Study

Youakim Al Kalaani

Northern Illinois University, Technology Department


All undergraduate students in the Technology Department at Northern Illinois University (NIU) are required to take electricity and electronics fundamentals courses. Rapidly changing technology necessitates the continual review and upgrade of these multidisciplinary courses so that they continue to serve both the student and industry in a relevant way. This paper describes changes needed to revitalize curricula as the results of 1) a self-assessment to ensure that the courses support the department curricula, 2) an investigation of similar programs instituted at other colleges and universities, 3) joint coordination with Rock Valley College (RVC) to streamline courses at both institutions, and 4) a survey with the department’s industrial advisory committees. Additionally, various instructional technologies that were specifically designed for teaching in a multimedia environment commonly referred to as “Smart Classrooms” are also presented and described in this paper. Finally, students’ surveys regarding the use of PowerPoint presentations, Blackboard or on-line courses, videocassette education product, computer simulation, as well as, lessons learned for future improvements are presented and discussed.

I. Introduction

The Technology Department at NIU offers three undergraduate programs: Electrical Engineering Technology (EET), Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET), and Industrial Technology (IT). All technology students are required to take Electricity and Electronics Fundamentals (TECH175) and its companion Laboratory (TECH175A) that can be viewed at the department’s web page For some students, this is possibly their only opportunity to learn basic electricity skills before graduation. Due to their multidisciplinary nature, these courses have traditionally been a challenge to teach, and therefore, innovative teaching methods have been employed to accommodate different learning styles. Since the Technology Department has been engaged in a major examination of its educational programs and curricula, the need for such revision has never been greater.

In the past, technology educators have published interesting results, mainly using quantitative research methods1. Some studies have used qualitative methods to achieve similar objectives2. A more effective approach, however, is to combine both methods for a comprehensive understanding of the underlying issues3 that necessitate the construction of a meaningful course database that can be used to achieve the desired outcomes. Therefore, a comparative study

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Kalaani, Y. (2004, June), Revitalizing Multidisciplinary Electricity Courses: A Comparative Study Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13644

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