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UnLecture: A Novel Active Learning Based Pedagogical Strategy for Engineering Courses

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Projects in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1300.1 - 24.1300.9



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Paper Authors


Vignesh Subbian University of Cincinnati Orcid 16x16

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Vignesh Subbian is an instructor/teaching assistant in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems at the University of Cincinnati. His research interests include embedded computing systems, medical device design and development, point-of-care technologies for neurological care, and engineering education.

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Carla C. Purdy University of Cincinnati

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Carla Purdy is an associate professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems, College of Engineering and Applied Science, at the University of Cincinnati and an affiliate faculty member in UC's Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois in 1975 and her PhD. in Computer Science from Texas A&M University in 1986. She is the head of UC's B.S. in Computer Engineering Program and the coordinator of the Preparing Future Faculty in Engineering Program. Her research interests include embedded systems and VLSI, intelligent embedded systems, software and systems engineering, computational biology and synthetic biology, agent based modeling and simulation, mentoring, and diversity in science and engineering.

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Fred Richard Beyette Jr. University of Cincinnati

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Fred R. Beyette Jr. has been teaching and performing research in areas related to Mixed Technology Embedded Systems since 1988. From 1988 to 1995, his efforts contributed to the work of materials, device and systems specialists at the NSF Engineering Research Center for Optical Computing Systems. After receiving his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University in 1995, Dr. Beyette spent the 1995/96 academic year as a NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow working at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. While in the UK, he investigated the system level feasibility of photonic devices based on piezoelectric multiple quantum well structures which exhibit blue shifting absorption characteristics. In 1996, Dr. Beyette joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Cincinnati. He is currently performing research and teaching in areas related to design and implementation of Mixed Technology Embedded Systems His research interests include development of Point-of-Care medical diagnostic systems, Hardware for Wearable Computing Application, Embedded Systems for Smart Power Grid Infrastructure, hardware development of photonic information processing systems, components that bridge the photonic/electronic interface.

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UnLecture: A Novel Active Learning Based Pedagogical Strategy for Engineering CoursesAbstract: This paper presents a novel pedagogical strategy, called UnLecture, which is basedon active learning and peer instruction. An UnLecture is a participant-driven discussion aimed atbringing real-world industry experiences to classroom. Co-operative education (co-op) is amandatory requirement for students enrolled in the engineering programs at the University of________ (U___). The primary objective of UnLecture technique is to create a participatoryenvironment that allows students to share their experiences from co-op, internship, and otherindustry-based projects, and to reflect on the connection between classroom learning andengineering practice. This technique was first piloted in a senior/graduate level course, EECE 6XXX –Advanced Microsystem Design, in Spring 2013. This course is focused on advanced skills formicrocontroller-based embedded systems. The pilot UnLecture session was based on an open-ended theme: the discipline of embedded systems and technology shift. It was observed thestudents put forth diverse perspectives based on their experiences from cooperative educationand that it is important to utilize student experiences to enable peer instruction. Based on thepreliminary results, the technique was formally modeled and deployed in an undergraduatesoftware engineering course during Summer 2013. Each UnLecture session is based on a theme directly related to one of the course topics.Typically, an UnLecture session on a topic is scheduled after that topic has been covered in anin-class lecture. A rubric is provided to students a few days prior to the session. The rubric is thecentral element facilitating the components of this technique. It is a set of carefully designedquestions that are categorized into three sections: Retrospection, Examination, and Reflection. Before the session, students retrospect their past co-op/internship assignments, recollect details that are related to the session theme, and document some fine points based on the questions in the rubric. During the session, students share their retrospective thoughts, and learn from fellow students’ cooperative education experiences. They also examine practices that were realized in various course projects and assignments, and analyze the differences and similarities between their experiences in industry and their learning experience from the course. After the session, the students combine their perspectives from both retrospection and examination to reflect on how they will perform differently in their next co-op rotation or work assignment. Five UnLecture sessions were designed and executed as a part of EECE 3XXX– SoftwareEngineering. While the results from these five sessions are elaborated in a separate paper, thispaper will mainly describe the structure and methods of the technique, and results from the pilotsession. It will also address how this technique can be applied to other electrical and computerengineering courses, specifically, courses in the embedded systems curriculum at U___.

Subbian, V., & Purdy, C. C., & Beyette, F. R. (2014, June), UnLecture: A Novel Active Learning Based Pedagogical Strategy for Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23233

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