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The Portability of Systems-Centric Content to Existing Sub-Discipline Courses

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

22.1486.1 - 22.1486.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18970

Download Count

17

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Paper Authors

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Tom Weller University of South Florida

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Thomas M. Weller received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1988, 1991, and 1995, respectively, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. From 1988-1990 he worked at Hughes Aircraft Company in El Segundo, CA. He joined the University of South Florida in 1995 where he is currently a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. He co-founded Modelithics, Inc. in 2001. Dr. Weller was a recipient of the Outstanding Young Engineer Award from the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society in 2005, the USF President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in 2003, IBM Faculty Partnership Awards in 2000/2001, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1999 and the IEEE MTT Society Microwave Prize in 1996. His current research interests are in the areas of RF micro electromechanical systems, development and application of microwave materials, and integrated circuit design. He has thirteen U.S. patents and over 150 professional journal and conference publications.

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Jeff Frolik University of Vermont

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Paul G. Flikkema Northern Arizona University

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Paul G. Flikkema received the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. From 1993-1998, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida, and joined Northern Arizona University as an Associate Professor in January 1999, where he is currently Professor of Electrical Engineering. He has been a JSPS Visiting Researcher at Yokohama National University, a Visiting Research Scientist at Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Tokyo, and a Nokia Fellow at Helsinki University of Technology. In 2007, he co-organized a U.S.-France Workshop on Sensor Networks and the Environment sponsored by the French government. In Spring 2008 he was a Visitor at SAMSI, where was Program Leader of SAMSI’s Program on Environmental Sensor Networks.

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Wayne A. Shiroma University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Wayne A. Shiroma received the B.S. degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the M.Eng. degree from Cornell University, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, all in electrical engineering. In 1996, he joined the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he is currently a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Co-Director of the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory. He has authored or coauthored over 90 publications in the areas of phased arrays, spatial power combining, and nanosatellites. He was also a Member of the Technical Staff with Hughes Space and Communications, El Segundo, CA. Dr. Shiroma was an elected member of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (IEEE MTT-S) Administrative Committee from 2002-10 and was general chair for the 2007 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium. He was the recipient of the 2003 University of Hawaii (UH) Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching, the ten-campus UH System’s most prestigious teaching award. Within the past nine years, Eta Kappa Nu recognized three of his graduating seniors as the most outstanding electrical engineering students in the U.S.

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Carol Haden Magnolia Consulting, LLC

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Carol Haden is a Senior Consultant for Magnolia Consulting, LLC, a small woman-owned research and evaluation company based out of Charlottesville, Virgina. For the past eight years, she has specialized in the evaluation of informal and formal STEM education programs. Dr. Haden has evaluated projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Arizona Board of Regents, and the Arizona Department of Education.

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Rhonda R. Franklin Univeristy of Minnesota

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Rhonda R. Franklin is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She has co-authored over 65 refereed conferences and journals papers on design of high frequency planar/3D circuits and antennas using advanced fabrication methods like MEMs technology. Her group has also developed high speed integration and packaging methods for high speed electronic and/or optoelectronic circuits in communications. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award (1998) and Presidential Early Career award for Scientists and Engineers (1999). She has also been an invited to participate in a number of National Academy of Engineering - Frontiers of Engineering program for young promising technical leaders in the US (1999) and Germany (2003, 2006). She is an advocate for career and professional development of engineers and faculty in STEM careers and for advancing effective learning methods in engineering education.

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Abstract

The Portability of Systems-Centric Content to Existing Sub- Discipline CoursesAbstractA multi-university, NSF-sponsored collaboration has developed a series of on-line learningmodules and experiential projects intended to elucidate complex, systems-oriented concepts inthe context of wireless sensor networks (WSN). Together these modules and projects comprisethe essential content of a complete undergraduate course on WSN. As it is often challenging toadd new courses to existing degree programs, ease of portability of the developed material hasbeen emphasized. The goal was to facilitate selective integration into existing curricula, therebyenhancing sub-discipline-specific courses with systems-centric learning. In this paper, theadoption of systems-oriented material from the WSN course into existing courses onRF/microwave theory and design at three institutions is described, as well as the portability ofexperiential projects to an existing embedded systems course at a fourth institution. Two of theadopters were involved in the original development of the material, and two additional adopterswere not.As an example implementation, one institution modified a course on introductory microwavecircuit design, which traditionally addressed topics such as transmission line theory, networktheory and design techniques for various passive components including filters, matchingnetworks and couplers. In the revised format, each topic is now covered in the context of satellitecommunications sub-system design and analysis. The on-line modules from the WSN course onsystem design concepts have been woven into the syllabus, and links between wireless sensornetworks and satellite communications networks are discussed. To accommodate the newmaterial, less emphasis is placed on certain specific microwave components, which are often thesubject of advanced courses. Early course assessment results indicate that the introductorysystems-oriented material increases student interest in RF/microwave circuit design andimproves understanding of how the performance of RF hardware impacts overall systemperformance. Instructor feedback indicates that the modules are effective in giving students adifferent and advanced perspective on course content and in enhancing the systems thinkingemphasis in their existing courses.In another implementation, the WSN course material was used to supplement an introductorycourse on RF systems for undergraduates. The material provided an alternative viewpoint on RFcomponents used in system design. It also provided exposure to advanced RF technologies, suchas RF MEMS used as switches and for re-configurability, not easily available in an introductorypublished text used for the undergraduates. Students viewed this additional content as very usefulto exposing them to advanced topics related to future RF systems.The four examples of porting the WSN course material into sub-discipline-specific courses willbe detailed in this paper, including a description of the supplementary material that wasdeveloped to effectively merge the new content. A common outcome was that these materialsprovided an expedient approach to develop concepts that enhance the students’ understanding ofmulti-layered systems. All hardware and software tools and extensive documentation, alongwith video-based course content, are available through the project website www.uvm.edu/~muse.

Weller, T., & Frolik, J., & Flikkema, P. G., & Shiroma, W. A., & Haden, C., & Franklin, R. R. (2011, June), The Portability of Systems-Centric Content to Existing Sub-Discipline Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18970

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