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The Use Of Home Experimentation Kits For Distance Students In First Year Undergraduate Electronics

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Virtual and Distance Experimentation

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1300.1 - 9.1300.10

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Paper Authors

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Matthew Joordens

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John Long

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John Florance

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

Session 2426

The Use of Home Experimentation Kits for Distance Students in First-Year Undergraduate Electronics J.M. Long, J.R. Florance and M. Joordens

School of Engineering and Technology Deakin University, Victoria, Australia


Laboratory and practical classes are an important part of the education of students in electronics and electrical engineering. “Hands-on” experience is critical for any engineer working in these fields in particular. For many years, delivering engineering practicals to distance-education students has been a tremendous challenge for universities. For a number of years now, students enrolled in the common first-year electronics course by distance mode at Deakin University have received a home experimentation kit. Using the kit and a laboratory manual, students are required to complete a number of experiments based on components included in the kit. The kit supports a full range of practical activities for digital electronics, and a more limited range of activities for analog electronics. With the kit, off- campus students are supplied software for simulating AC electronic circuits, such as amplifiers and rectifiers. In this report we examine the past use of this kit and software, review anecdotal student experiences with the package, and propose changes to it and to other curriculum resources, aiming to enhance the use of the kit by distance students. Key curriculum resources planned are a web-based ‘companion’ for the components in and the use of the kit, and two additions to the kit itself: a battery powered function generator, and a PC-based oscilloscope.


Practical education through hands-on activities is an essential part of any engineering curriculum. “Book Learning” alone is quite insufficient for the student who is training to be a modern engineer. In the field of electronics and electrical engineering this is especially so. Electronics is one of the most hands-on fields in engineering. The ability to build and test electronic circuits and devices is just as important as the ability to design them. For the student who is new to electronics, the practical skills that he needs to learn include the operation and characteristics of various linear and non-linear devices, such as power supplies, rectifiers, resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, op amps, logic gates, and flip flops. The student needs to learn the effective use of breadboards, circuit layout, how to test his circuits, and how to use common test equipment, including multimeters, AC function generators, logic probes and oscilloscopes. In a conventional university electronics course, the practical skills in basic electronics are normally taught by means of on-campus lab

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Joordens, M., & Long, J., & Florance, J. (2004, June), The Use Of Home Experimentation Kits For Distance Students In First Year Undergraduate Electronics Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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