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Back to the future: the telegraph as an introduction to electrical and computer engineering

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1 Author(s)
K. D. Stephan ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Massachusetts Univ., Amherst, MA, USA

The electromagnetic telegraph was the first widespread application of electrotechnology. It embodies essential electrical principles, but its basic operation is simple enough to be understood by most first-year college students. As part of an ARPA/NSF-sponsored effort to improve undergraduate instruction, a four-week course module was developed to introduce freshman students to electrical and computer engineering. The module used multimedia presentations, a 70-page set of course notes, and demonstrations conducted by the students themselves. Near the end of the module teams of students bid on the construction of a hypothetical 1890 telegraph system. The module concluded with a review of modern telecommunications. The course used several innovative approaches. Rather than extensive lectures, the in-class instruction was provided primarily by rotating pairs of students who performed demonstrations under the guidance of the instructor. Examples of the course material are given along with student evaluations of the course and recommendations for similar work in the future

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1995. Proceedings., 1995  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

1-4 Nov 1995