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Using Portable Electronics Experiment Kits for Electronics Courses in a General Engineering Program

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1630.1 - 22.1630.14



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Paper Authors


Jason Yao East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jianchu (Jason) Yao joined the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University as an Assistant Professor in August, 2005. He received a B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Shaanxi university of Science and Technology, China, in 1992 and 1995, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 2005. His research interests include wearable medical devices, telehealthcare, bioinstrumentation, control systems, and biosignal processing. His educational research interests are laboratory/project-driven learning and integration of research into undergraduate education. Dr. Yao is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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Loren Limberis East Carolina University

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Dr. Limberis joined the Engineering faculty at ECU in August 2006. He earned his B.S. in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Utah. Dr. Limberis taught for several years as an Assistant Professor at The College of New Jersey and was a research analyst with Southwest Research Institute prior to his academic career. His research interests focus on designing techniques to utilize nature’s highly complex and sophisticated biological systems to develop biohybrid devices for use in biotechnology applications.

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Steve Warren Kansas State University

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Steve Warren received a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University in 1989 and 1991, respectively, followed by a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Dr. Warren is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Kansas State University. Prior to joining KSU in August 1999, Dr. Warren was a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. He directs the KSU Medical Component Design Laboratory, a facility partially funded by the National Science Foundation that provides resources for the research and development of distributed medical monitoring technologies and learning tools that support biomedical contexts. His research focuses on 1.) plug-and-play, point-of-care medical monitoring systems that utilize interoperability standards; 2.) wearable sensors and signal processing techniques for the determination of human and animal physiological status; and 3.) educational tools and techniques that maximize learning and student interest. Dr. Warren is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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Using Portable Electronics Experiment Kits for Electronics Courses in a General Engineering ProgramVirtual instruments on a laptop and an accompanying collection of portable hardwareserve as good supplements, if not replacements, for benchtop electronic equipment suchas oscilloscopes, multimeters, and function generators. These tools can provide a newform of laboratory experience that frees students from traditional geographically-constrained settings and expands laboratory activities into more ubiquitous learningenvironments, allowing students to achieve laboratory objectives and complete theassociated tasks at their individual paces. We hypothesize that this approach to hands-onelectronics education will improve multiple learning outcomes within the ABET assessmentframework, including outcomes (a) apply math and science, (b) conduct experiments andinterpret data, and (e) solve problems. This paper presents our experiences using a customportable electronics experiment kit (PEEK) in a general engineering program. The PEEK andthe accompanying laboratory experiences were developed with NSF-CCLI support. Twoelectronics courses, ENGR 3014—Circuit Analysis and ENGR 3050—Intrumentation andControls were selected for this research. As a supplement to regular face-to-facelaboratory meetings, each student was given a PEEK to complete the pre-laboratory workand to complete any tasks that could not be finished during the laboratory period. Thepaper describes the features of the PEEK tool, the details of its implementation within thelearning environment, and its effectiveness based on the assessment of the learningoutcomes. This paper also discusses practical issues noted in the process of incorporatingthis learning model into day-to-day instruction, including (1) challenges encountered whenthe tools were used in a general engineering curriculum, where only a few electronicscourses are offered, (2) methods to support students when they work on laboratoryassignments off campus and after hours, and (3) different strategies to motivate studentsin lower- and higher-level classes when they use such tools in unsupervised environments.

Yao, J., & Limberis, L., & Warren, S. (2011, June), Using Portable Electronics Experiment Kits for Electronics Courses in a General Engineering Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--19009

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