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Teaching Problem Solving Techniques In A Circuits Analysis Course

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.953.1 - 6.953.6



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Ronald Rockland

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

Session 1648

Teaching Problem Solving Techniques in a Circuits Analysis Course

Dr. Ronald H. Rockland New Jersey Institute of Technology


The ECET program at New Jersey Institute of Technology is an upper division program, accepting students from a variety of community colleges. One of the first courses these students take is ECET 303, which is a circuits measurements course. While the course covers standard measurement techniques and circuit theory, the author found that student skills in areas such as problem solving needed to be enhanced.

Rather than create problems that students could solve, the author incorporated various aspects of problem solving approaches for laboratory-based course in the lecture part of this course. This paper describes the multi-step approach in dealing with creative problem solving techniques for EET laboratory based courses that was presented to these students. Student experiences with these concepts and laboratories that incorporate these steps are also discussed.


Too often, the concept of problem solving skills is confused with the ability of students to solve problems. How a student approaches the problem, whether it is a calculus assignment or a lab experiment, is more important than just finding the correct solution. Understanding these skills can aid the student in a variety of other courses.

When the author first taught this course, it was apparent that the problem solving skills of the students were very poor. They performed the experiments with no understanding of what they were doing, nor had any methodology to solve the problem. They basically built a circuit, took data, and wrote a report.

In another ECET course, the author developed a ten-step approach for solving computer application problems in an introductory microprocessor course1. A similar approach for laboratory-based courses was developed, and this paper will address a six-phase approach that was used in an upper division circuit analysis course.

The students were divided into groups of three, and were expected to work out the problem solving concepts among the group. This six-phase approach can be used in a variety of courses, and by starting these engineering technology transfer students early in their upper division

Rockland, R. (2001, June), Teaching Problem Solving Techniques In A Circuits Analysis Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9873

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