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Student learning in a required Electrical Engineering (EE) course for non-EE majors: Perception of values for future work in multidisciplinary teams

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

22

Page Numbers

23.1101.1 - 23.1101.22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22486

Download Count

35

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Paper Authors

author page

Alexander Ganago University of Michigan

author page

Hongwei Liao

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Abstract

2013  ASEE  Conference    Student  learning  in  a  required  Electrical  Engineering  (EE)  course  for  non-­‐EE  majors:     Perception  of  values  for  future  work  in  multidisciplinary  teams    Due  to  the  unprecedented  progress  of  analog/digital  electronics  and  programmable  devices,  all  engineering  fields  are  getting  intertwined  with  Electrical  Engineering  (EE)  and  non-­‐EE  engineering  majors  are  required  to  take  at  least  one  EE  course.  But  still,  some  undergraduate  non-­‐EE  majors  do  not  see  the  relevance  of  EE  to  their  studies  until  they  face  real-­‐world  problems  at  workplace,  when  the  opportunity  for  learning  in  required  courses  is  already  missed.      We  strive  to  overcome  this  unfortunate  tendency  in  a  large  EE  service  course  for  non-­‐EE  majors  from  the  College  of  Engineering,  with  a  three-­‐prong  approach:    (1)  During  each  semester,  regularly  monitor  how  the  currently  enrolled  students  perceive   their  EE  course  work:  design  surveys  focused  on  various  aspects  of  their  studies   [anonymous  surveys  with  extra  credit  for  participation],  conduct  focus  groups,  etc.;    (2)  Interview  recent  graduates  who  are  taking  further  courses  or  working  in  industry:  find   out  which  parts  of  learning  in  this  course  have  been  most  valuable  for  them  and  why;    (3)  Immediately  apply  our  findings  to  teaching:  gradually  alter  the  structure  and  logistics  of   the  course  in  order  to  maximize  the  benefits  for  student  learning  and  future  careers.      In  this  abstract,  we  list  some  of  the  basic  findings;  in  the  paper  we  will  provide  more  details  and  statistics  over  several  recent  semesters.        First  and  foremost,  regular  feedback  during  the  semester  opens  new  venues  for  communication  with  students  and  allows  the  instructor  to  see  the  course  through  their  eyes  –  an  insight  that  is  hard  to  get  otherwise.  Creation  of  surveys  takes  time;  reading  the  open-­‐ended  responses  of  many  students  is  also  time-­‐consuming  but  the  outcomes  are  indeed  rewarding.  Regular  surveys  improve  the  students’  perception  of  the  course  and  of  the  value  of  learning  if  they  help  to  satsify  their  needs  and  expectations  such  as:   ü Make  the  amount  of  homework  commesurable  with  workload  in  other  courses   ü Raise  the  quality  of  discussions  and  focus  them  on  the  current  homework   ü Ensure  that  the  topics  of  each  Lab  are  first  covered  in  homework  problems     ü In  the  lab,  provide  enough  time  for  students  to  think  of  what  they  are  doing     ü Assure  the  students  that  they  are  being  heard  and  their  opinions  matter.      On  a  deeper  level,  non-­‐EE  majors  want  to  learn  how  to  apply  EE  to  projects  in  their  major  fields.  Emphasis  on  lab  learning,  success  stories  provided  by  recent  graduates,  and  focus  on  fostering  transferable  skills  certainly  makes  the  course  more  attractive  for  students.      Students  see  and  appreciate  their  EE  course  work  as  an  experience  in  a  multidisciplinary  environment:  for  example,  two  students  on  the  same  team  in  the  lab  may  have  different  non-­‐EE  majors,  while  the  lab  instructor  has  a  third  major  (EE).  Students  are  generally  comfortable  in  this  environment  and  agree  that  it  prepares  them  for  future  work.      Last  but  not  least,  explicit  involvement  of  educational  topics  such  as  Bloom’s  taxonomy  in  lectures  increases  the  students’  appreciation  of  their  learning  in  the  new  field.    Last  printed  2012-­‐09-­‐24  1:40  PM       File:  2013 ASEE Abstract with HL.doc  

Ganago, A., & Liao, H. (2013, June), Student learning in a required Electrical Engineering (EE) course for non-EE majors: Perception of values for future work in multidisciplinary teams Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22486

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