June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Electrical and Computer
15.1365.1 - 15.1365.10
What do prior experience and student attitudes say about ECE lab ability? Abstract
One hundred nine students over three semesters took a Prior Experience Questionnaire and the Pittsburgh Freshman Engineering Survey as part of their initial Electrical and Computer Engineering lab. Twelve weeks later, each student was given a lab practical as part of this sophomore lab. The lab practical, given to the students the last week of the course, is used as the measure of ECE lab skills. The practical has the students perform basic measurements with a multimeter and an oscilloscope on a simple circuit that also requires the use of a power supply and a function generator. These skills were used throughout the semester long lab in various experiments. This practical is done individually and each result is observed by the Teaching Assistant.
Correlations were then calculated between the survey results and the lab practical in an effort to determine what factors contribute to better lab practical scores and thus, hands on ability.
The results show that most correlations are small. The highest correlations were Lab Grade and GPA, 0.65 and 0.45 respectively. When the partial correlations are taken correcting for GPA, the number of significant factors decreased by 30% and ACT scores became strongly correlated to the lab practical score.
When females (approximately 10% of the sample population) were removed, there were no significant changes in the correlation results.
What makes students successful in an Electrical and Computer Engineering introductory laboratory? If a set of prior experiences can be determined, or a set of attitudes, then these could be used to help improve student performance. This paper will explain the progress of determining the prior experiences and attitudes of students taking an Electrical and Computer Engineering laboratory and discuss the correlations between their performance in the laboratory and their responses to surveys about their past experiences and attitudes toward engineering.
The ECE sophomore laboratory is the first experience with instructional introduction to the function and use of electrical test equipment used in the ECE department. The instruments include multimeters, oscilloscopes, function generators, DC power supplies, breadboards, resistors, simple logic chips, circuit simulation software, and simple logic programming. The course has a common lecture one hour each week, and individual lab sections meet in the lab for a two-hour period each week. The lecture covers basic skills that will be needed in that week’s lab. In our curriculum, this lab precedes the basic
Van Arsdale, C., & Pereira, A., & Bohmann, L., & Miller, M., & Helton, W. (2010, June), What Do Prior Experience And Student Attitudes Say About Ece Lab Ability? Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16312
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