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Theme Based Redesign Of The Duke University Ece Curriculum: The First Steps

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Course and Curriculum Innovations in ECE

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1341.1 - 10.1341.14



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Paper Authors

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John Board

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April Brown

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Joseph Holmes

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Hisham Massoud

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Steven Cummer

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Jungsang Kim

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Michael Gustafson

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Leslie Collins

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Lisa Huettel

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Gary Ybarra

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

Theme-Based Redesign of the Duke University ECE Curriculum: The First Steps

a) Leslie M. Collins, a)Lisa G. Huettel, a)April S. Brown, a)Gary A. Ybarra, b)Joseph S. Holmes, a)John A. Board, a)Steven A. Cummer, a) Michael R. Gustafson, a)Jungsang Kim, and a)Hisham Z. Massoud a) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, 27708-0291/b)AcuityEdge, 437 Petty Road, Suite 201, Sanford, NC 27330

Abstract. Historically, undergraduates in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Duke University have had ample exposure to theoretical foundations and design experiences within the framework of a flexible curriculum. Students have benefited from the combination of curricular flexibility and rigorous coursework, and over the past two decades courses in the core curriculum have seen incremental changes in both content and structure. The overall structure and intent of the core curriculum, however, has not been examined during this time, is circuit-centric, and does not fully reflect modern curricular philosophies and approaches to learning or engineering education. The current curriculum is further limited in that the core courses do not offer a vertically integrated thematic introduction to ECE as a discipline nor are they reflective of the broader scope of the ECE field of study. In 2003, NSF awarded Duke a planning grant for curriculum reform. The goals of our curriculum redesign are to maintain our curricular flexibility while introducing a theme-based structure focused on major concepts and principles, and to integrate this theme throughout the core and the technical focus areas. This theme, Integrated Sensing and Information Processing, reflects the active research areas of the majority of the ECE faculty, and embodies key concepts of all components of ECE within a real-world framework. During the planning phase, we developed and implemented an assessment plan and obtained baseline results, investigated modern pedagogical techniques and integration approaches, and defined a process for our curriculum redesign. In 2004, NSF awarded Duke a curriculum redesign implementation grant. In this paper, we describe results from our initial assessment activities and plans for the coming years. We also describe the process by which we are redesigning our core curriculum, including the design of a theme-based introductory course that introduces fundamental concepts of ECE through coursework and a real-world design project and laboratory experience. The structure of the new core and theme-based structure will also be presented. [This work was supported by NSF EEC-0431812].


The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University is committed to a significant redesign of the undergraduate curriculum. To provide the best possible undergraduate education for Duke students, an innovative ECE curriculum will be developed and implemented. The new curriculum has been under active development since mid-2003, when the department

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Board, J., & Brown, A., & Holmes, J., & Massoud, H., & Cummer, S., & Kim, J., & Gustafson, M., & Collins, L., & Huettel, L., & Ybarra, G. (2005, June), Theme Based Redesign Of The Duke University Ece Curriculum: The First Steps Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14484

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