Home > Seminars > TUTORIAL SOFTWARE FOR LINEAR CIRCUITS ANALYSIS COURSES AND METHODS TO IMPROVE CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF CIRCUITS

TUTORIAL SOFTWARE FOR LINEAR CIRCUITS ANALYSIS COURSES AND METHODS TO IMPROVE CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF CIRCUITS

Start:

6/19/2014 at 2:00PM

End:

6/19/2014 at 3:00PM

Location:

258 Fitzpatrick Hall

Host:

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Yih-Fang Huang

Yih-Fang Huang

VIEW FULL PROFILE Email: huang@nd.edu
Phone: 574-631-5350
Website: http://www.nd.edu/~huang/
Office: 257 Fitzpatrick

Affiliations

College of Engineering Senior Associate Dean for Education and Undergraduate Programs
Research Interests: My research interests focus on theory and applications of detection and estimation. The conventional approaches to solving the problems of detection and estimation are typically based on the principles of mathematical statistics. When those problems arise within the context of ...
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Linear circuit analysis is a widely taught foundational class for electrical engineers as well as a subject commonly required for many other engineering majors as well. It can be a challenging topic for many students. Thus, it is an excellent subject in which to study methods to improve student success. Here, I will describe two related topics, the development of interactive tutorial software to replace conventional homework assignments, and a systematic exploration of the conceptual foundations of this subject and how to promote better conceptual understanding by students. Our software randomly generates circuit problems for students to solve that vary in both circuit topology and element values, so that it can provide an unlimited supply of both worked examples and student exercises at any desired level of difficulty. It further implements step-based tutoring, in which each step in a student’s work is entered directly into the software, such as re-drawing a circuit diagram, writing equations, sketching waveforms, simplifying algebraic equations and formulating matrix equations, entering numerical answers, or answering multiple choice questions. The system provides immediate feedback on the correctness of each input. In a controlled, randomized laboratory-based trial, students learned about 10X as much in the same period of time from this software as from working conventional textbook problems. We are also studying student understanding using the DIRECT concept inventory of Engelhardt & Beichner as a pre- and post-test and trying to identify conceptual aspects of circuit analysis that are not typically taught in such courses, even though students need that understanding. Using novel methods that we will describe, we have been able to significantly raise the post-test scores to 79%, compared to 59% for conventional instruction. Further improvements should be possible. Ultimately these methods will be incorporated into the tutorial software.

Seminar Speaker:

Brian Skromme

Brian Skromme

Arizona State University

Brian Skromme is a Professor in the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at Arizona State University and Assistant Dean in Academic and Student Affairs in the Fulton Schools of Engineering. He was previously a Member of Technical Staff at Bellcore. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1985. He has 130 refereed publications in solid-state electronics and more recently in educational software development. He currently leads an NSF-sponsored, multi-university project to expand, evaluate, and disseminate tutorial software for linear circuit analysis.