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Teaching Linear Circuit Analysis Techniques with Computers

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

23.1146.1 - 23.1146.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22531

Download Count

112

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Paper Authors

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Brian J Skromme Arizona State University

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Dr. Brian Skromme is a professor of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering and assistant dean of the Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a Member of Technical Staff at Bellcore from 1985 to 1989.

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Qiao Wang Arizona State University

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Paul Rayes Arizona State University

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Paul Rayes is an undergraduate student studying towards a B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Arizona State University. His interests include digital and solid-state circuits and computer programming. He is a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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John M Quick Arizona State University

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John M. Quick is an Educational Technology doctoral candidate at Arizona State University who is interested in the design, research, and use of educational innovations. He has been active in the creation of both entertainment and serious games. His current research explores the intersections of individual characteristics, enjoyment, learning, and video games.

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Robert Kenneth Atkinson Arizona State University

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Dr. Robert Atkinson is an associate professor with a joint appointment in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering in the Ira A. Schools of Engineering and the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation in the Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College.

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Tim Frank South Mountain Community College

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Abstract

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. https://peer.asee.org/22531

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