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Using Telecommunication Instructional Modelling System (TIMS) in Communications Systems 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

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Jiahui Song Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Jiahui Song received her B.S. in Automation and M.S. in Pattern Recognition & Intelligent Systems from Southeast University. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Old Dominion University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Technology at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

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Douglas Eric Dow Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Douglas Dow is an Associate Professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Technology, starting at Wentworth Institute of Technology (Boston, MA) in 2008. He obtained a Ph.D. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), an M.S. in Computer Science from University of Colorado (Colorado Springs, CO), and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University (College Station, TX) and a B.A. in Liberal Arts Engineering from Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL). He worked in industry for over 8 years as a new products test engineer at Ampex Corporation (the company that invented the video tape recorder) in Colorado, Panasonic’s Central Research labs in Osaka, Japan, and the Institute for Systems Science at the National University of Singapore, in Singapore. He has also done biomedical research during post doctorate research positions at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan), and Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN). He has taught classes for and been an advisor on capstone senior design projects for Wentworth students in the programs of electrical engineering, computer engineering, electromechanical engineering, and biomedical engineering.

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Telecommunication Instructional Modelling System (TIMS) is a very advanced system for telecommunications training. TIMS is a rack and module system. Most TIMS modules perform a basic communication or signal processing function. For example, there are adders, multipliers, filters, and samplers. Other modules generate signals such as sinewaves, square waves, and random sequences. Modules can be plugged into each of the twelve slots in the rack and then connected with other modules to create a variety of systems. Several permanent modules are located in the lower part of the rack. TIMS provides students with an easy way of modelling communication and signal processing systems in the laboratory.

Conventional courses in Communications Systems would explain the theory and assign problem sets related to the basis for communications with limited Matlab and Multisim based labs. PC based simulation studies are a useful learning tool, however, computer simulations cannot perfectly model the behavior of actual systems. TIMS provides "real world" communications systems. In an attempt to give students more hands-on experience with the theories and concepts involved in the specific area of analog and digital communications, a recent offering of this course gave the students a TIMS lab after each topic was introduced: amplitude modulation/demodulation, SSB generation/demodulation, frequency modulation/demodulation, sampling, PAM&TDM, PCM encoding/decoding, ASK generation/demodulation, BPSK modulation/demodulation, and FSK generation/demodulation. TIMS units are hardware training systems, only an oscilloscope is required to use the system. When using the TIMS systems, students build the circuits at a block diagram level.

Evaluations were based on student surveys (course evaluations) and student work (assigned homework, exams and labs). Recent offerings of this course taught in the traditional way by the same instructor resulted in only 61.1% of the students receiving a “B-” or higher grade for the course. In the first iteration of TIMS system, the number of students who received a “B-” or better increased to 84.6%. Moreover, 92.3% of students “agree” or “strongly agree” that TIMS helped them to better learn the course content. 80.8% of students “agree” or “strongly agree” that TIMS increased their interest in the subject. After students have learned and grasped these fundamental concepts, it is much easier for them to take this knowledge and apply it to HF electronics, telephone lines, computer local area networks, and so on.

Song, J., & Dow, D. E. (2017, June), Using Telecommunication Instructional Modelling System (TIMS) in Communications Systems Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29090

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