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Structuring a System Design Laboratory Course to Facilitate Outcomes Assessment

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Laboratory Development in ECE I

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1183.1 - 25.1183.11



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Paper Authors


Victor P. Nelson Auburn University

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Victor P. Nelson is a professor and Assistant Chair of electrical and computer engineering at Auburn University. His primary research interests include embedded systems and computer-aided design and testing of digital systems and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). He is co-author of the textbook Digital Logic Circuit Analysis and Design and a tutorial book on fault-tolerant computing. He has been Chair of the ECE Curriculum Committee, Coordinator of the ECE Graduate Program, and served one year as Associate Dean for Assessment in the College of Engineering. He is a member of IEEE, ACM, and ASEE, and is an ABET Program Evaluator. He has served as Chair of the ECE Division of ASEE, an at-large AdCom member of the IEEE Education Society, a member of the IEEE Committee on Engineering Accreditation Activities (CEAA), and previously served as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education and on the IEEE Computer Society/ACM Task Force that developed the Computer Engineering 2004 report on model computer engineering curricula. He was a co-winner of the 2005 Wireless Educator of the Year Award from the Global Wireless Education Consortium for his role as one of the developers of the bachelor's of wireless engineering program at Auburn University, which is the first of its kind in the U.S.

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John Y. Hung Auburn University

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John Y. Hung is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Auburn University, where he has been on the faculty since 1989. Prior to his academic career, he worked for Johnson Controls, Inc., in the field of digital controllers for commercial building automation systems, and also worked as a consultant in control systems design. Hung is a Fellow of IEEE, and is President-elect of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES). Previously, he served IES as Treasurer and Vice President for Conference Activities. He served as General Co-chair for the 2008 IEEE Industrial Electronics Conference (IECON-2008) and the 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Electronics (ISIE-2010). His teaching and research interests are in control systems applications.

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Structuring a System Design Laboratory Course to Facilitate Outcomes Assessment ABSTRACTAssessment and evaluation of student learning are key components of a successful educationalprogram. As defined by ABET, “student outcomes describe what students are expected to knowand be able to do by the time of graduation.” An effective assessment process must produceuseful data that are both summative and formative, the former to determine levels to whichstudent outcomes are being attained, and the latter to identify specific areas for programimprovement. In addition, the assessment process must be efficient, to ensure sustainability. Theprogram must identify or create opportunities to assess each of its student outcomes at somepoint in the program where students are expected to have attained, and should be able todemonstrate that outcome at an acceptable level.This paper will discuss how the junior-level embedded systems design laboratory course in theelectrical and computer engineering programs has been structured to provide a significant systemdesign experience, in preparation for the capstone design project, while providing opportunitiesfor students to demonstrate, and for faculty to assess, achievement of six of the eleven studentoutcomes defined for their respective programs, including both technical and professional skills.These six outcomes include the ability to: 1. design a system containing hardware and software components, 2. design and conduct experiments, and also analyze and interpret data, 3. use modern engineering tools, 4. work in multidisciplinary teams, 5. communicate orally and in writing, and 6. understand engineering ethics.For each student outcome, a set of performance indicators and rubrics have been designed. Then,for each outcome, one or more course activities have been designed so that the set ofperformance indicators will be directly assessable. For each performance indicator, thecorresponding rubrics are applied as part of the grading process for that course activity. The endresult is that useful program assessment data is obtained as part of the regular instructionalprocess. This data is reported to the program’s curriculum and assessment committee forevaluation and determination of potential program improvements. Several programimprovements resulting from this assessment process will be discussed in the paper.

Nelson, V. P., & Hung, J. Y. (2012, June), Structuring a System Design Laboratory Course to Facilitate Outcomes Assessment Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21940

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