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Teaching Electric Circuits Using Tablet Pc And Centra

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

ECE Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1158.1 - 13.1158.8



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Paper Authors


Asad Azemi Pennsylvania State University

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Asad Azemi is an associate professor of Engineering at Penn State University. He has received his B.S. degree from UCLA in 1982, M.S. degree from Loyola Marymount University in 1985, and Ph.D. degree from University of Arkansas in 1991. His professional interests are in nonlinear stochastic systems, signal estimation, biocomputing, and use of computers and related technologies in undergraduate and graduate education to improve teaching and enhance students’ learning.

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

Teaching Electric Circuits Using Tablet PC and Centra

Abstract - An increasing trend for lecture-based courses is for instructors to convert their lecture notes to PowerPoint based presentation. While there are many advantages to electronic projection, a large drawback is the loss of interactivity. The use of a Tablet PC by the instructor promises to overcome this difficulty. The Tablet PC, combined with appropriate software, enables the instructor to “write and draw” using digital ink. This work describes our experience in using Tablet PC in conjunction with Centra to teach Electric Circuits. A typical lecture consists of preparing the agenda and lecture notes using PowerPoint. The PowerPoint presentation includes explanations of the covered topics and only statements of the problems that are going to be discussed during the lecture. When an example is reached, the Journal Viewer of the Tablet PC would be used to show step-by-step solution of the problem. The Journal Viewer file will include the schematics of the example problem. Electronics Workbench is used for schematic drawings. A brief discussion of this approach and the advantages and disadvantages of such a scheme will be presented.


Electronic projection usually in the form of PowerPoint slides that are shown to students while the instructor discusses the material on the slides is an increasingly common method for instructors to present lecture material. However, this approach can potentially lead to ineffective classroom teaching 1-3. There are also works that have focused on making their PowerPoint presentations more effective 4.

Teaching with Tablet PCs has recently attracted attention as a potential tool for educational use and a “Classroom Presenter” system has been developed 5-7 for delivering computer science courses. Surveys of this system 5-7 indicate that students pay more attention and gain a better understanding of the course material. The system described in [5] was further extended for collaboration and active learning within the classroom, where students could submit digital ink- based material to the lecturer, within a Tablet PC-based classroom, to display on the projector 8. Based on our experience, the Tablet PC provides a different form of interactive electronic whiteboard teaching in a classroom environment. Compared to a laptop, a Tablet PC offers several advantages, including the ability to 1) prepare lectures using PowerPoint slides and annotate these during the lecture; 2) maintain constant eye contact with the class since there is no need for the lecturer to turn to the board; 3) revisit previously discussed material during the class; 4) switch easily to other applications such as a National Instruments’ Multisim 9 or MATLAB 10 and use the digital pen to draw attention to a specific item; 5) avoid labor-intensive PowerPoint animations in lecture notes as the Tablet PC allows annotation with natural handwriting; and 6) Tablet PCs can also increase collaboration and communication in small group exercises. Students can work together on an involved work-out problem, communicating visually. Moreover, by using the Tablet PCs and wireless networking, the students participating in the group will not need time to move about the room, instead switching to another application window on the Tablet PC is all that is required. In this work we present a way to use Table PC’s unique features for presenting lectures and use Centra 11 system, a real-time communication,

Azemi, A. (2008, June), Teaching Electric Circuits Using Tablet Pc And Centra Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4105

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