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Web Based Exercises For A First Year Electrical And Computer Engineering Course

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1145.1 - 6.1145.9

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Paper Authors

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Robert Reynolds

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John Field

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Isaac Horn

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

Session 2793

Web-based Exercises for a First-Year Electrical and Computer Engineering Course Isaac Horn, Robert Reynolds, John Field University of Maine

Abstract A series of web-based exercises were developed to support a first-year introductory electrical and computer engineering class. The exercises provide asynchronous learning opportunities in the topics of resistive circuits, RC circuits, 555 timers, and combinational logic circuits. The exercises are described and student perceptions presented.

I. Introduction The University of Maine offers ECE 101 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering, a 4-credit, lab-based course, to all electrical and computer engineering students in the fall of their freshman year. A portion of the course involves the study of resistive circuits, RC circuits, 555 timers, and combinational logic circuits; topics that are covered in detail in later courses. Soon after this course was introduced it became apparent that some students needed more “time on task” than others did in order to really gain mastery of the material. Thus, like many others1,2,3 we turned to using the web for asynchronous learning opportunities. Specifically, a series of web-based exercises were developed to give students a chance to test their understanding of these subject areas independent of homework and tests. The home page for these exercises is at The exercises are described in the following sections followed by a discussion of student perceptions.

II. Exercises Home Page The home page for the exercises is shown in Figure 1. A user can either go directly to one of the four exercise choices or review the instructions first. Not surprisingly, most people skip the instructions and go right to the exercises. Thus, we have found it useful to give a brief in-class demonstration before assigning an exercise. When first beginning a module, an exercise from that module’s area is assigned as homework to encourage students to become familiar with what it tests and how to use it. Other than this first assignment, further use is up to the student.

The exercises will be discussed in this paper in the same order as they are presented in ECE 101. Resistive circuits are discussed first to present the concepts of voltage division and current flow. This leads nicely to RC circuits, time constants, exponential charging and

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Reynolds, R., & Field, J., & Horn, I. (2001, June), Web Based Exercises For A First Year Electrical And Computer Engineering Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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