Asee peer logo

Web Based Circuit Animator To Aid In Teaching Circuit Analysis

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1290.1 - 8.1290.5



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Louis Godbout

author page

Hisham Alnajjar

Download Paper |

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

Session 1532

Web-Based Circuit Animator to Aid in Teaching Circuit Theory

Hisham Alnajjar & Louis Godbout Electrical & Computer Engineering Department College of Engineering University of Hartford

Abstract As we all know, motivating students to work on certain subjects in their major is sometimes a tough thing to do. It can get even harder when trying to motivate students in one major to work on a subject they have to take in another major. When Civil, Mechanical and other non-electrical engineering students enroll in a required introductory Electrical Circuits course, it is sometimes impossible to encourage the majority of them to take the course seriously. They, as we all know, have the attitude that it is not in their major and a C or a D grade is sufficient.

Based on our experience in teaching this subject to non-major students over many years, a web- based circuit animation file was developed for students to use as a supplement to the course. The circuit animations cover all of the basics in direct current (DC) circuit theory. Through the animations, the theoretical and practical aspects of basic DC circuit principles are presented. The topics considered are: Ohm’s law; series and parallel resistor combinations; Kirchhoff’s laws; voltage and current dividers; nodal, mesh, and loop analysis; Thevenin’s and Norton’s theorems; superposition; and first-order RL and RC circuits. This paper will explain this project and its usefulness in teaching Introductory Circuits for non-majors. Of course, the animation files are also extremely useful for the education of Electrical Engineering majors as well.

Introduction and Discussion As stated earlier, teaching circuit theory to non-electrical students can be very challenging. A good percentage of these students think that a passing grade is all they need because the subject is outside their discipline. Many are also “turned-off” to Electrical Circuits because they feel the material is too abstract, thus making the course unexciting. It is a fact that this new generation of students is very much computer and web oriented. Furthermore, a significant number of these students have played computer games while growing up and are used to animated information. So, how about playing their game? We felt by introducing web-based circuit animations to aid in teaching a circuit theory course, we might be able to get them involved and motivated.

The web-based circuit animations were developed for students to use as a supplement to the course. The primary goal is to introduce all engineering students to the elementary principles of DC circuits. Using animated graphics, DC circuit fundamental laws, analysis techniques, theorems, and examples are presented to enhance student understanding of these concepts. It is designed to show students step-by-step how a circuit is approached and solved for the desired results. It shows via animated pictures how resistors in series or parallel can be combined, how “Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Godbout, L., & Alnajjar, H. (2003, June), Web Based Circuit Animator To Aid In Teaching Circuit Analysis Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11516

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015