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Using Arduino in Engineering Education: Motivating Students to Grow from a Hobbyist to a Professional

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Division for Experimentation & Lab-oriented Studies Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Brian M. Wood Keysight Technologies

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Brian Wood has worked at all incarnations of Hewlett-Packard - HP, Agilent Technologies, and now Keysight Technologies - since 1973, with a few years off (2006-13) for "retirement." He's been an R&D design engineer, production engineer, application engineer and is now in marketing, providing worldwide support for Keysight's BenchVue instrument control software. In his spare time, he enjoys ham radio and electronic tinkering.

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Alexander O. Ganago University of Michigan

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Using Arduino in Engineering Education: Motivating students to grow from a hobbyist to a professional

Motivation is key to human development, including professional growth. Quite often, the rewards for student learning seem to be vague and remote; years spent in the classroom are not fun. Effectiveness of education skyrockets if interesting outcomes of learning are within reach.

Arduino – inexpensive micro-controller boards popular with hobbyists – can be used to help both the teacher and the student find new answers to the key question: Why should we learn about “X”? Instead of traditional preaching that “X” would probably be useful in your profession, the answer becomes: “Because it helps you do cool things with Arduino this week.”

In the context of Engineering Education, at any level from high school to college, for Electrical Engineering (EE) and non-EE majors alike, “X” may be any of the following: • Sensors and calibration • Ohm’s law and voltage division • Current and power • Sine and square waves • Transient responses • Analog and digital signals • Sampling rate, bits, and accuracy • Control theory • Programming • Protocols for wireless communication • Test/measurement procedures

Use of Arduino-based projects as motivators for learning offers these benefits to the student and the instructor: • To a student, clear goals for advanced learning • To a teacher, a fresh look at what makes students learn • To both, joy of achievement

In this report, a collaboration between a major manufacturer of electronic instruments and an engineering college at a major university, we share our experience at several levels: • Short summer camps for high-school students o Crash course of lectures and lab experiments on basics of EE o Description of student achievement • College courses for undeclared engineering majors • Advanced studies for EE majors in the industrial setting o Lab experiments using an Arduino programmed to look like a commercial instrument, designed to stimulate thinking about the design of commercial instruments while introducing concepts of A/D conversion, IO, noise, measurement speed, input protection and accuracy vs. precision.

At all levels of learning, Arduino-based projects are multidisciplinary (from programming to electronics to mechanics and design) and meet ABET Outcomes 3 a, b, c, d, e, g, i.

Wood, B. M., & Ganago, A. O. (2018, June), Using Arduino in Engineering Education: Motivating Students to Grow from a Hobbyist to a Professional Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31197

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