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This paper reports on the development of a second-year design course intended to support student design capabilities in a coherent four-year design thread across an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) curriculum. At [Redacted] University students take four years of design starting by building an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor module in first year, a robust IoT product in the second year, using the product to address societal challenges in the third year, followed by a culminating capstone experience in the fourth year. While the first year introduces students broadly to the ECE curriculum, the second-year course reported here is designed to provide students’ abilities in electronic device fabrication and test and measurement, areas students at [redacted] have had little previous exposure to. This course is designed to anchor the remainder of the design sequence by giving all students the capability to independently fabricate and test robust electronic devices.
The second-year course has students individually build an IoT appliance—the Digital / Analog Modular Neopixel-based Electronic Display, or DAMNED project—by going through twelve sequential steps of design from simulation through PCB layout, device and enclosure fabrication, to application development. Because this course is most students’ first encounter with electronic fabrication and test and measurement techniques, the course has students build the project in twelve steps. Each weekly step is heavily scaffolded to allow students to work independently out of class. The paper discusses how such scaffolding is supported through design representations such as block diagrams, pre-class preparation, rapid feedback, and the use of campus makerspaces and educational software tools. The paper also shares results of making iterative improvement to the course structure using action research, and early indications that students are able transfer skills into subsequent design courses.
Cheville, A., & Lamparter, M. (2022, August), Supporting Design Capabilities Across the ECE Curriculum, the Role of DAMNED Projects Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/40736
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