June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Electrical and Computer
26.1743.1 - 26.1743.16
Wireless Communication Testbed and Tools for Authentic STEM Learning We propose a novel educational gamification approach that employs and reinforcesotherwise-abstract concepts currently taught in graduate-level courses to become a standard partof undergraduate communications courses in the future. In particular, we develop software toolsthat visually demonstrate relevant wireless communications parameters and processes, includingthose already taught in undergraduate communications courses (e.g., power, modulation type,data rate and bandwidth, coding rate) to students in an interactive way. We exploit an Internet-accessible wireless communication/ cognitive radio testbed to enable students to experiencewireless communication challenges and learn different solutions in realistic environments via anordinary web browser. The testbed mimics a real-world system and provides a safe environmentthat allows over-the-air transmission at low power or under experimental licenses. A cognitive radio testbed consists of cognitive radio nodes. Each node has a cognitive agentor engine that controls a flexible radio or set of radios. The cognitive engine is usuallyimplemented as a complex algorithm that may evolve over time. Initially, an agent may havevery limited knowledge about how to effectively operate the radios. A cognitive agent is able tolearn how to adapt its information transmission and other radio parameters to a given situation.Our approach is to replace the cognitive agent with a student. A student can then control aflexible radio in a wireless testbed under a gaming scenario to achieve challenging wirelesscommunication “mission”. Multiple students can participate in the scenario as individuals or ingroups. As students operate their radios they will observe cause and effect and learn to apply andimprove their knowledge of material currently covered in undergraduate communicationscourses in order to make better decisions and achieve more rewarding outcomes. Students will bein situations where they need to cooperate their transmissions with their classmates to get thebest overall benefit (score) or operate selfishly to maximize their own score. Lesions learnedthrough this game-like process representing real-world communication challenges can be furtherdiscussed in a class. We expect that students are strongly motivated to learn more aboutadvanced wireless communication principles and learn how cognitive radios work. This paper will present a prototype of wireless testbed enabling the educational gamingapproach. We will discuss example scenarios, visualization tools, class modules, and evaluationmethods. Evidence from past experience using similar methods will be also discussed. Webelieve that the learning effect and engagement can significantly improve learning ofundergraduate communications engineering content over traditional methods and also promoteand enable introduction of advanced wireless communication concepts into the undergraduatecurriculum. To ensure widespread relevance of the tutorials, we are developing them incollaboration with faculty from a variety of institutions and programs that representundergraduate-only engineering and engineering technology programs, historically blackcolleges and universities, and research universities. We hope that the proposed gamificationapproach can be effectively introduced into other curricula to enhance undergraduate andgraduate education and research engagement in related engineering and science fields.Fig. 1. Cognitive radio system (left) and gamification concept for education (right): Thecognitive engine (artificial intelligence to provide an optimized communication performance)takes as inputs the wireless environmental parameters and the acquired knowledge (not shown)to turn the knobs and meters of the radio or radios. The cognitive engine in the right subfigure isthe student, who observes and controls the radio(s) and learns from the own and other students’actions.
Marojevic, V., & Goff, R. M., & Dietrich, C. B., & Yang, T., & Hearn, C. W., & Polys, N. F., & Buehrer, R. M. (2015, June), Wireless Communication Testbed and Tools for Authentic STEM Learning Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25079
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