June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Electrical and Computer
23.1125.1 - 23.1125.14
Synergy of Educational Tools in Teaching of a New Lecture/Lab Course on Electromagnetic Fields and Waves Vladimir Mitin1, Nizami Vagidov1, Joseph Zavicki2, and Athos Petrou1 1 University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260-1920 2 Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY 14222-1095There are many excellent undergraduate courses developed for new emerging disciplines such asfor example, nanoelectronics, bio-photonics and electronics, cellular and molecularbioengineering, etc. These courses are not taught in the traditional lecture style; instead most ofthem have an experimental laboratory component in order to offer students valuable hands-onexperience in these emerging fields. Instructors also use online response systems, educationalJava applets, and numerical software to promote students’ active learning. In contrast to thesecourses for newly emerging disciplines the courses in Electromagnetic Fields and Waves (EFW)for junior students are mostly taught in a lecture, purely theoretical style. As a result, theinstructors that teach EFW course using the conventional method encounter the following threeproblems:1. There is disconnect between the mathematics used to describe electromagnetic phenomenaand the physics, even when one or two chapters on mathematical topics is given at the beginningof the semester. The situation is even worse if the teachers rely on students’ mathematicalknowledge from math courses.2. There is disconnect between the theory discussed in the lectures and the experiments carriedout in the accompanying lab. This disconnect is made more severe by two factors: (a) sometimesthe lab either precedes or lags behind the lecture material and (b) the theory and the lab aretaught by two separate instructors that have different ideas about what is important and what isnot and different teaching philosophies.3. In the present system assessment of the students’ understanding is infrequent. Typically itconsists of final exam with one or two midterms. As a result the students do not put a uniformeffort in learning the course but, under the pressure of other courses, apply themselves to theEFW course for only a short period of time just before the exams, resulting in an uneven andincomplete learning.To overcome the problems described above the following teaching scheme will be used:1. First of all each theoretical topic, described in the lecture part of the course, will be covered bya lab experiment.2. To acquire deeply new abstract notions educational Java applets are of big help and Javaapplets have to be used in a way that provides active style of learning. Otherwise Java applets astraditional lectures provide a passive experience.3. Connected with Java applets are means for numerical solutions of electromagnetic problems.Students will be able to compare numerical results with the experimental data that they obtainedcarrying out the lab experiments as well as with the results provided by Java applets.4. The students’ progress will be assessed each week by giving them: (a) in-class quizzes and (b)out-class quizzes using Blackboard online system. This will ensure a uniform effort by thestudents which is expected to result in a better understanding of the course material.The proposed style of teaching can be described best as a synergy of educational tools, i.e.“combined action” of the following components: 1. Power-point presentations; 2. Labexperiments; 3. Java applets; and 4. Numerical calculations. Such combination of educationaltools allows students to make repetitive connections between the studied concepts and providestheir active learning.
Vagidov, N. Z., & Mitin, V., & Petrou, A. C., & Zawicki, J. L. (2013, June), Synergy of Educational Tools in Teaching of a New Lecture/Lab Course on Electromagnetic Fields and Waves Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22510
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