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Use of an Automated Grading Circuit for a Lab-based Course

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Division Experimentation & Lab-oriented Studies Electrical Engineering and Circuits

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Christopher Miller Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Chris is an Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. His interests include engineering education, embedded systems, and ubiquitous computing.

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WIP: Use of an Automated Grading Circuit for a Lab-based Course

Abstract Laboratories and hands-on projects are an important part of courses in embedded systems and microcontrollers. Assessment and feedback for these projects can be challenging due to the speed at which microcontrollers operate. Verification of outputs may not be possible with the human eye and may require lab equipment, which can be time consuming. Additionally, even if observation of outputs is possible, it may not be possible to manually produce the desired inputs to test all boundary conditions.

Incorporating self-assessment and verification into project requirements can assist in addressing these issues, as well as helping students to develop important testing and verification skills. Many students, however, have yet to develop the necessary skills to understand how to properly test their designs. They therefore remain unaware of shortcomings in their understanding until feedback is received, at which point they may have moved on to future laboratory assignments.

We have developed an automated grading circuit for an introductory course on embedded systems and microcontrollers. The course focuses on hands-on learning through weekly lab projects and a term project. The automated grading circuit is designed to be connected to students’ lab circuits, and to provide an automated test with real-time feedback and immediate results. The grading circuits are made available to students so that they may use them throughout the design and implementation process to verify their circuits and get immediate feedback prior to their final demonstration. The motivations for the development of the automated grading circuit include: improve student understanding of system verification, improve quality and quantity of feedback and enable student-directed feedback, enable more precise grading rubric criteria, and reduce demonstration time to allow more time for in-lab activities and assistance.

In this paper we present the design and implementation of the grading circuit and test programs. We discuss initial results, including improvements to assessment accuracy and improved student understanding as indicated by exam scores. Additional assessment is needed to further evaluate benefits of the grading circuit and determine the best application of this tool to improve student outcomes and development.

Miller, C. (2017, June), Use of an Automated Grading Circuit for a Lab-based Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29065

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