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Weaving A Microwaves Thread Through The Curriculum

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1393.1 - 13.1393.14



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Paper Authors


James Becker Montana State University

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Dr. Becker is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Montana State University. His research and teaching interests include microwave circuits, radio frequency electronics and nanoelectronics. He is a 2004 recipient of the NSF CAREER award.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Weaving A Microwaves Thread Through The Curriculum


A set of educational materials being spread across the electrical and computer engineering curriculum at Montana State University to help students develop an increasingly deep and broad understanding of high frequency electronics is described. The materials are being developed to be integrated in several courses taken by undergraduate students beginning in freshman year and include lecture demonstrations, laboratory exercises and design projects. The development of these materials is motivated by the need for engineers well-versed in high-frequency electronics, the desire to cast common concepts learned at the foundation of the curriculum in terms of practical engineering applications and to introduce students to one of the many specialties in electrical engineering. Particular attention is given to materials developed for the freshman level introductory course.


A meaningful educational experience for an undergraduate intending to pursue a career in high- frequency / microwave electronics requires involvement in a curriculum that both stresses fundamental concepts and provides thorough exposure to modern design tools and techniques routinely used by experienced practitioners in the field. To meet this need, several universities have developed courses that allow students to design, simulate and test microwave components. However, there are two key areas in which many of these courses could be further developed: (1) students should be given an opportunity to use their newly developed component-level design capabilities toward a system-level problem and (2) students should engage in activities that prepare them for emerging trends in the field. The senior-level course in microwave circuits at Montana State University has been redesigned using this philosophy based on materials developed at another university as described by Furse et. al.. 1 Even those electrical engineering students pursuing specialties other than microwave electronics can benefit from rudimentary knowledge of high-frequency effects. For example, an understanding of transmission line and other high-frequency effects is of vital importance for engineers involved in high-speed digital design.

This paper describes educational materials that integrate key concepts in high-frequency electronics into several courses within the electrical and computer engineering curriculum. The materials developed for the lower-level courses take a fundamental topic from the course and expound upon it using a concept relevant to high-frequency electronics. In addition to helping students learn the fundamentals in terms of modern engineering applications, the newly developed materials are intended to introduce students to an increasing important specialty in electrical and computer engineering. For those students developing sufficient interest in high- frequency electronics, as mentioned previously, the senior-level elective in microwave electronics has been revamped to reflect best practices in the field. A similar vertical integration scheme that involves materials related to other specialties within electrical engineering is being considered.

Becker, J. (2008, June), Weaving A Microwaves Thread Through The Curriculum Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3492

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