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Mastering circuit analysis: An innovative approach to a foundational sequence

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3 Author(s)
William J. Leonard ; University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA ; C. V. Hollot ; William J. Gerace

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has dramatically changed how Circuit Analysis is learned. Combining a traditional lecture/recitation format with secure, online tests, we have raised our expectations for students and improved student performance, while increasing the fraction of students who succeed, especially underrepresented minorities and women. We call the instructional approach ldquoMasteryrdquo, because students continue to work on a topic until they earn a perfect score on the corresponding test. Further, it shows great promise for transforming undergraduate education, especially those courses that provide foundational skills and prepare students for future learning. The approach could have a positive impact on the retention rates of all students and even greater impact on those for underrepresented groups. In this paper, we describe the Mastery approach and its implementation over the past two years. We also show the current state of passing and completion rates as compared to those rates before Mastery was introduced. Finally, we discuss a range of issues, including the appropriateness of the Mastery approach for other courses.

Published in:

2008 38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference

Date of Conference:

22-25 Oct. 2008