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Tackling Real-World Problems in First-Year Electrical Engineering Experiences

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Conference

2019 FYEE Conference

Location

Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

M3C: Mentoring into the profession

Tagged Topic

FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33728

Download Count

8

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Paper Authors

biography

Michael Cross Norwich University

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Michael Cross is a lecturer of electrical and computer engineering teaching classes in the areas of circuits, electronics, energy systems, and engineering design. Cross received degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Vermont and began his academic career at UVM where he taught courses in the areas of analog and digital circuits, electronics, semiconductor physics, power electronics, and engineering design.

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David M. Feinauer P.E. Norwich University

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Dr. Feinauer is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Freshman Engineering Coordinator at Norwich University. His scholarly work spans a number of areas related to engineering education, including P-12 engineering outreach, the first-year engineering experience, and incorporating innovation and entrepreneurship practice in the engineering classroom. Additionally, he has research experience in the areas of automation and control theory, and system identification. His work has been published through the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE); he is an active member of both organizations. He serves as advisor to the student entrepreneurship club and as the State Partner for the FIRST LEGO League Program—a nationally recognized program that incorporates robotics with innovation and community engagement. He holds a PhD and BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky.

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Michael W. Prairie Norwich University

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Dr. Prairie is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Norwich University in Vermont where he teaches electrical engineering courses and guides undergraduate student research in electrical system design. Prior to joining Norwich he spent 10 years in industry developing sensor systems after serving as an officer managing Science & Technology development programs for 15 years in the United States Air Force (USAF). He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, a MSEE from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a BSEE from Norwich University.

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Seth H. Frisbie Norwich University

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Seth H. Frisbie received his doctorate and Master of Science degrees from Cornell University. Dr. Frisbie is an associate professor of chemistry at Norwich University. He has studied drinking water for over 30 years. He has worked on drinking water and public health in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, the Cayman Islands, and many other developing countries since 1997. He has won numerous awards for outstanding research and teaching.

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Abstract

Tackling Real-World Problems in First-Year Electrical Engineering Experiences

This paper is a Complete Paper – Evidence Based Practice. Engaging first-year engineering students with projects rooted in real-world problems can help keep the students engaged both in the project as well as the course overall. In their work studying intrinsic motivation [1], Deci and Ryan found that connecting one’s work to greater contexts of significance or social import is a key factor in motivating better understanding and connecting one’s work to other experiences. They also found that it results in improved commitment, effort, and performance. The work in [2] underscores the importance of active, discipline-based lab-learning on student retention and further supports the use of such activities. Situative learning and other learner-centered approaches [3-4] are frequently developed around exercises with real-world context grounded in experiences the learner can relate to; they have also been linked to improved student learning outcomes and persistence. For the past three years, first-year students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at the University have contributed to the development of a water quality measurement device intended to serve as an inexpensive, reliable, hand-held replacement for the conventional bench-top water quality measurement system. Students in this introductory course have tested design concepts and developed the user interface for the system which consists of an Arduino and an LCD shield with buttons to help the user navigate through the data collection process. The work performed by the students in this course constitutes a portion of the overall project, shared with third-year ECE students as well as Chemistry students at the University. While much of the design was ultimately the responsibility of key ECE and Chemistry faculty members, the designs were developed to serve as examples/case studies of the engineering design process as well as to provide opportunities for the students to practice their design skills and contribute to the project by testing design iterations and variations.

In this paper, we will discuss this project in detail, describing how this project allows the students to further develop the embedded system programming skills that they have developed in this course [5], and how the project is used to introduced more advanced electrical engineering concepts. Following the presentation of the project details, a discussion of student attitudes and lessons learned from multiple project executions will be presented. The discussion will explore the impacts on student commitment, effort, and performance.

[1] Ryan, R. and Deci, E., “Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being,” American Psychologist, July 2000, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 68-78.

[2] Hoit, M. and Ohland M.W., “The Impact of a Discipline-Based Introduction to Engineering Course on Improving Retention,” Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 87, No. 1, 1998, pp. 79–85.

[3] Bernold, L.E., Spurlin, J.E. and Anson, C.M., “Understanding Our Students: A Longitudinal-Study of Success and Failure in Engineering With Implications for Increased Retention,” Journal of Engineering Education, 96: 263-274.

[4] Johri, A. and Olds, B.M., “Situated Engineering Learning: Bridging Engineering Education Research and the Learning Sciences,” Journal of Engineering Education, 100: 151-185.

[5] Cross, M. and Feinauer, D., “Embedding Core Skills in First-Year Engineering Students with Applications in Embedded System Design,” 2018 FYEE Conference: Glassboro, NJ, July 2018

Cross, M., & Feinauer, D. M., & Prairie, M. W., & Frisbie, S. H. (2019, July), Tackling Real-World Problems in First-Year Electrical Engineering Experiences Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/33728

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015