June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.1290.1 - 8.1290.5
Web-Based Circuit Animator to Aid in Teaching Circuit Theory
Hisham Alnajjar & Louis Godbout Electrical & Computer Engineering Department College of Engineering University of Hartford firstname.lastname@example.org
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. https://peer.asee.org/11516
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