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Introducing TCAD Tools in a Graduate Level Device Physics Course

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2 Author(s)
Parent, D.W. ; Electr. Eng. Dept., San Jose State Univ., San Jose, CA ; Del Rio-Parent, L.

The impact that project complexity, student prior academic achievement, and quality of instructional materials might have on student academic achievement was studied during a required device physics course, in which technology computer-aided design (TCAD) tools were introduced to first-year graduate students. Preliminary analysis of student performance and project complexity showed that students who attempted the most complex projects had the lowest student academic achievement, despite there being no significant differences in prior academic achievement as measured by grades in the first exam in the course. Further analysis of student achievement data from other electrical engineering courses taught in a similar open laboratory format, for which enhanced instructional materials were developed, suggest that when well-developed learning resources are easily accessible to students, project complexity has no negative impact on student academic achievement and can sometimes enhance student academic performance. Cognitive load theory was used to explain why well-developed instructional tools, such as enhanced tutorials, can help students better learn or work with complex material.

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

Aug. 2008

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