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The Best Of All Worlds A First Year Course At The University Of Maine

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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

6.982.1 - 6.982.8

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Paper Authors

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John Field

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Janelle Tonti

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Eric Beenfeldt

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Isaac Horn

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Edward Williams

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

Session 2793

The Best of All Worlds - A First-Year Course at the University of Maine Eric Beenfeldt, John Field, Isaac Horn, Janelle Tonti, Edward Williams University of Maine

Abstract ECE 101 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering, a first-year course for electrical and computer engineers at the University of Maine, is described. It uses a variety of approaches to introduce students to their major and to help make them successful students.

I. Introduction Many engineering programs have an introductory course in the first year. These introductory courses use a wide range of approaches to teaching and learning and cover a broad range of topics. Some emphasize the skills necessary to be a successful student, skills like, learning styles, study skills team building, and types of engineering jobs. They might use texts similar to Landis1 or Donaldson2. Some of these also introduce design, using projects like egg drops, bridge building, or discipline related endeavors. Other introductory engineering courses emphasize a more technical approach, using, for example, a text like White and Doering3. Some of the more technical courses are discipline-based4 while others serve as an introduction to the major engineering disciplines5. ECE 101 combines the general skills development philosophy with an ECE discipline-based approach.

Techniques used to enhance learning in first-year courses include, technology usage, peer teaching, collaborative learning, hands-on activities, a minimum of lectures, and small classes.

In an effort to provide a good start for our students we have borrowed from the wide range of available teaching techniques and topics to create ECE 101 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering, hence the semi-humorous portion of this paper’s title referring to “The Best of All Worlds”. Beginning with a brief history, details of the course are presented next.

II. History For over twelve years the ECE Department has required two courses in the first year curriculum to introduce its majors to their discipline. Initially, both of these courses were wholly technical where one course dealt with digital logic and the other with assembly language programming. In the early 1990’s the digital logic and assembly language material were combined and taught in the second course. This allowed the first course to be restructured to provide a general introduction to electrical and computer engineering, including modules aimed at helping students

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Field, J., & Tonti, J., & Beenfeldt, E., & Horn, I., & Williams, E. (2001, June), The Best Of All Worlds A First Year Course At The University Of Maine Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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