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Student Engagement Through Mathematical Applications In Electrical Power Systems

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Integrating Math, Science, & Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1158.1 - 11.1158.10



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Paper Authors


Bruno Osorno California State University-Northridge

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Bruno Osorno has been teaching for over 20 years. He has written over 20 technical papers all related to electrical engineering. His interests are reasearch in engineering education, application of new technologies into the curriculum and computer applications in electric power systems. He received an MSEE from the University of Colorado, Boulder and continued studies towards a PHD degree resulting in ABD. He has a great deal of industrial and consulting experience, more recently he was involved in consulting for NASA-JPL in the analysis of an electrical power system for a new mission. In the past he worked for several years as an electrical design engineer for a world wide chemical company. Currently he is a professor of Electrical and computer Engineering at California State University Northridge and lead faculty member in the Electric Power Systems graduate and undergraduate program.

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

Student Engagement through Mathematical Applications in Electrical Power Systems

Abstract- : Historically, electrical engineering students have been very proficient in the application of mathematics. At California State University we have experienced, recently, a negative shift of mathematical interest and therefore a lack of progress in the understanding of basic concepts that require a strong mathematical background. This problem stems from the lack of mathematical skills and studying habits. One way to solve this problem is to engage our students into the application of mathematics with simple, yet, powerful problems. An assessment of such engagement occurs every week with a quiz that spans the material covered during the previous week and tests some of the mathematical and engineering skills. This paper attempts to show the results of such assessment and the outcome of a class in which such approach was tasted. During this semester we are testing this technique again in a different course.


STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, “SE,” is a technique devised by Celt, “Center for Learning and Teaching,” at California State University Northridge. This technique is one of many approaches to engage students. In this paper we used weekly quizzes all semester long. In addition we had examinations homework and group projects. While this technique is not unique or new, we are using it in combination with its assessment to quantify its effectiveness.

ECE 412 was the course used to test this approach. This course is named Power Electronics and Motor Drives. Because the complexity of the course and the required application of most of the mathematical background the students should have, it was decided to apply a different technique to help them deal with the broad range of material. Quizzes given every week increased the level of learning and commitment towards the course. We were amazed to realize that those students enrolled in this course were not motivated to excel in it. Must of them wanted to get by and “just” pass the course. Also, they found out that the level of mathematical applications was quite involved. Therefore, student engagement “SE” was used and here we are sharing some of the findings. Two sample quizzes are shown in the appendix of this paper.


Engagement can be looked at from an extrinsic to an intrinsic level. It was concluded that the “key” to bring students to the classroom in a regular basis was to give quizzes every week. Other approaches were using journals, group problem solving, etc. In ECE 412 it was decided to use quizzes. Figure 1 shows in a graphic form this process.

Osorno, B. (2006, June), Student Engagement Through Mathematical Applications In Electrical Power Systems Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--443

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