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An interdisciplinary laboratory sequence in electrical and computer engineering: curriculum design and assessment results

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4 Author(s)
T. A. Roppel ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Auburn Univ., AL, USA ; J. Y. Hung ; S. W. Wentworth ; A. S. Hodel

In the fall quarter of 1997, the Auburn University Electrical Engineering Department (USA) implemented a new, interdisciplinary core laboratory sequence. This new laboratory sequence was one outcome of a complete curriculum revision based on four years of work by the departmental Curriculum Study Committee. This paper presents the laboratory curriculum design, and the results of a multi-part assessment conducted beginning one year after implementation. Many students are initially surprised by the level of challenge provided in the first laboratory course, but readily accommodate as they progress through the sequence. A multifaceted assessment strategy has evolved which uses end-of-term student evaluations, retrospective student evaluations, student oral interviews, and faculty interviews. The assessment information is used to improve the laboratories through modification of the laboratory manuals, better instructions to graduate teaching assistants, modifications of experiments, and a purposeful effort to keep all faculty informed of laboratory course content so they can build upon the laboratory experience in classroom teaching. The overall result of the new laboratory experience is that students have a more integrated approach to design and a much better understanding of the hardware, software and instrumentation used in electrical engineering practice. In addition, students who complete the sequence have better oral and written communication skills, and are more confident in approaching job interviews and initial job challenges

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 2 )