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Short-term, Full-semester, Study-abroad Engineering Programming and Signals & Systems Courses

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Study and Research Abroad

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Paper Authors


Ernest M. Kim University of San Diego

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Ernie Kim received his BSEE from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and MSEE and PhD in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University. He has been an electronics engineer at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) at the Boulder CO labs where he performed research on precision optical fiber metrology, staff engineer with the Advanced Systems Group of Burroughs Corporation, Manager of Electro-Optics at Ipitek Corporation where he developed early fiber optic CATV systems. Dr. Kim has worked at a number of start-up companies in fiber optic transmission including All Optical Networks, and Lightwave Solutions in San Diego. He joined the University of San Diego Department of Electrical Engineering in 1990. Dr. Kim is a licensed Professional Engineer (EE), and regularly teaches FE and PE exam review courses.

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Thomas F. Schubert Jr. P.E. University of San Diego

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Thomas F. Schubert, Jr. received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California, Irvine. He is currently a Professor of electrical engineering at the University of San Diego, San Diego, CA and came there as a founding member of the engineering faculty in 1987. He previously served on the electrical engineering faculty at the University of Portland, and Portland State University, and on the engineering staff at Hughes Aircraft Company. Prof. Schubert is a member of ASEE and IEEE and is a registered professional engineer in Oregon. He is the 2012 winner of the ASEE Robert G. Quinn award for excellence in engineering education.

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Shaghayegh Abbasi University of San Diego

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Three week short-term full semester coverage Intersession courses were successfully developed by the home institution as a tool to increase student international awareness while delivering substantial technical content. Course offerings have included engineering core and engineering elective courses taught in a short-term study abroad format by home institution faculty. The success in delivering such engineering courses in a three-week format has been demonstrated [1].

New study-abroad courses in Engineering Programming for all engineering majors, and Signals and Systems for Electrical Engineering majors were developed as Intersession courses taught in London. These courses were developed to be completely portable, where required hardware and software are acquired by students prior to leaving for the study-abroad courses for use at the international location.

The Engineering Programming class used the Raspberry Pi as the computation and programming engine and interfaced it to personal computers via Virtual network Computing (VNC) sharing system. This interfacing allows the personal computer (notebook computer) keyboard and mouse events to seamlessly be used by the Raspberry Pi.

The Signals and Systems course used Matlab as the computational software platform.

The use of a Raspberry Pi in Engineering Programming allowed for instruction in C programming using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). The type of programming exercises were widened beyond typical computational-only programs, to sensing and actuating external devices via the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins. The complete kit or “box” consists of a Raspberry Pi 3, power supply, case, Micro-SD Card pre-loaded with the GCC compiler and other required software, select sensors and actuators, and interface cables.

Students are additionally able to expand their understanding of the impact of engineering solutions from a global and societal viewpoint with a visits to Bletchley Park where Alan Turing accomplished his breakthrough work on a deciphering the Enigma Code, and to the British Museum of Computing featuring the Babbage Engine and an exhibit highlighting Ada Lovelace’s breakthrough work on algorithm development.

Assessment of the program consists of the course evaluation, student surveys, and formalized micro-observations.

[1] Thomas F. Schubert and Frank G. Jacobitz, “Compact International Experiences: One Path to Expanding Student International Awareness Through Short-Term Study-Abroad Elective Engineering Courses”, Proceedings of the 2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, BC, 26 June 2011

Kim, E. M., & Schubert, T. F., & Abbasi, S. (2018, June), Short-term, Full-semester, Study-abroad Engineering Programming and Signals & Systems Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30961

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