June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
NSF Grantees Poster Session
23.1146.1 - 23.1146.11
Teaching Linear Circuit Analysis Techniques with ComputersTraditional methods of instruction for elementary linear circuit analysis tend to be organizedaround a limited set of problems and examples drawn from textbooks, with no ability tocustomize the presentation to the needs of individual students. Previously, we described ourinitial progress in developing software to generate an unlimited number of circuit problems ofspecified types de novo, with completely random topologies as well as element values, as well asfull solutions based on the methods typically taught in such courses. The software is designed toaccept a rich variety of inputs from students, such as equations, matrix equations, re-drawncircuits (as needed when performing simplifications or source transformations, for example), andsketches of waveforms, in addition to traditional items such as numerical answers and multiplechoice answers. In so doing, we are able to give more effective, automated feedback to studentsabout their errors and progress, to reduce frustration and create more efficient learning. We arealso developing a tutorial system to incorporate the circuit generation and solution engine intopre-programmed tutorials in which students can pursue various paths, depending on theirindividual needs and aptitudes. Special exercises are being included to address typical studentmisconceptions about electrical concepts and the material covered in the course, based on theextensive literature in this field.Here, we will describe our recent progress in this work. We can now specify the number offloating supernodes or the number of supermeshes whose currents are not constrained by currentsources. We can also optionally prohibit passive elements of the same type in series or inparallel. Based on these refinements, we have constructed three “first generation” tutorialsequences that focus on identification of elements in series and parallel, writing node equations,and writing mesh equations. The tutorials have been tested with students in Summer 2012 andFall 2012 sections of our linear circuit analysis course, and second generation versions will betested in Spring 2013. The tutorials feature structure equation input, where students can selectthe appropriate form of each term (or have it provided to them) and then fill in the blanks.Automated feedback is provided to identify errors. The system can also color code each term ina KCL or KVL equation and correspondingly color code an arrow representing a current leavinga node or supernode or a voltage drop around a mesh or supermesh. This pedagogical featurehelps students understand the structure and formation of the equations. A graphical circuit editorhas also been completed to enable modification of a circuit, or even drawing circuits fromscratch. Embedded assessment is being performed using log data from users as well as anevaluation of the effect of software usage on performance on exams, quizzes, and conceptinventories. Software usability surveys are being used to assess student satisfaction and thedesign of the software system. A general-purpose tutorial interface is also being constructed.We will further describe our work to extend the system to include additional solution methodsbeyond node and mesh analysis, including current and voltage division, source transformation,superposition, and Thévenin and Norton equivalent circuits. We further plan to extend ourcapabilities to steady-state AC, transient, and Laplace domain analysis using similar approaches.Fig. 1. A generated circuit and corresponding node equations, with color-coded arrows andcorrespondingly color-coded terms in a user-selected KCL equation for a supernode.Fig. 2. Interactive circuit editor. Existing elements can be changed to any other type of elementby selecting them and clicking a button corresponding to the desired type, or by adding themfrom the “New Parts Bin.” Element values can be edited directly on the screen.
Skromme, B. J., & Wang, Q., & Rayes, P., & Quick, J. M., & Atkinson, R. K., & Frank, T. (2013, June), Teaching Linear Circuit Analysis Techniques with Computers Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22531
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