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Work in Progress: Remote Instruction of Circuitry in a Multidisciplinary Introduction to Engineering First-year Course

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computers in Education 5 - Online and Distributed Learning 2

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


James E. Lewis University of Louisville

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James E. Lewis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals in the J. B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville. His research interests include parallel and distributed computer systems, cryptography, engineering education, undergraduate retention and technology (Tablet PCs) used in the classroom.

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Nicholas Hawkins University of Louisville Orcid 16x16

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Nicholas Hawkins is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Fundamentals Department at the University of Louisville. Nick received his B.S., M. Eng., and PhD from the University of Louisville in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests include power electronics and controls, as well as engineering education for first-year students.

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Brian Scott Robinson University of Louisville

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This paper is focused on a course redesign transitioning from a hardware-based course into a course taught remotely. The J. B. Speed School of Engineering (SSoE) at the University of Louisville (UofL) has a two-course sequence that all first-year SSoE students are required to complete. This two-course sequence is designed to introduce incoming students to the profession and fundamentals of engineering. The first course is titled Engineering Methods, Tools, & Practice I (ENGR 110), and primarily focuses on introduction to and practice with fundamental engineering skills. The second course, Engineering Methods, Tools, & Practice II (ENGR 111) is typically a makerspace-based course primarily focused on application and integration of the fundamentals learned in ENGR 110. Included amongst numerous skills institutionally identified as “fundamental” were programming and basic circuitry. Therefore, all disciplines of SSoE engineering students are exposed to the basics of circuitry and programming through ENGR 111 pedagogy.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this makerspace course is to be taught remotely in the spring semester of 2021. The instructional team felt that there were too many shared tools and teams were too close together to safely continue the course in a makerspace environment. This remote teaching has posed the instructional team some unique challenges due to the hands-on nature of the ENGR 111 course. Students are typically in face-to-face teams of 3 or 4 students and each group is given an Arduino, breadboard, and circuit components. The given assignments start out with basic circuity and Arduino programming, followed by utilizing an Arduino to communicate with created circuits. The assignments are designed to help the first-year students gain comfort in circuitry and programming.

The instructional team has decided to use Tinkercad, which is a free online collection of software tools provided by Autodesk. Many people are only aware of Tinkercad as a 3D modeling programming, however in 2017 Autodesk merged its “123D Circuits” into Tinkercad [1] [2]. This makes Tinkercad an ideal platform to use for circuitry and Arduino programming.

The paper will further describe the design of the assignments, instructional team expectations from the students, the environment in which the students are using Tinkercad, as well as looking at expected course outcomes using the platform. This topic is a work in progress as data for evidence-based analyses will not be fully procured until after publication.

Lewis, J. E., & Hawkins, N., & Robinson, B. S. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Remote Instruction of Circuitry in a Multidisciplinary Introduction to Engineering First-year Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38193

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