A New Interactive Course in Communication Electronics
Additional Document Info
American Society for Engineering Education, 2015. In 2012, the Electronics Systems Engineering Technology program at Texas A&M University went through a major curriculum revision. This revision was primarily to create a strong emphasis in intelligent product and system development that spanned many industry sectors including automotive, healthcare, oil and gas, communications, and quality of life. During the revision process, the faculty surveyed industry and, based on need, added both required and technical elective courses to the curriculum. One of these courses was a technical elective in the area of communication electronics. This course was recommended because many students are hired by companies that manage their own communications infrastructure, that consult and maintain communication systems for customers, and that manufacture and provide communication equipment. The course was developed in the Summer of 2013 and has been delivered twice, once in Fall 2013 and again in Spring 2014. The communication electronics course is offered as an elective and covers both basic communication concepts as well the implementation of these concepts in hardware and software. One of the unique aspects of the course is the teaching format. In 2013, the College began an initiative to double its enrollment over a period of about ten years. As part of this initiative, departments have been asked to find novel teaching approaches that allow for increased capacity without sacrificing quality of instruction. From this standpoint, a hands-on laboratory is one of the primary distinguishing components of engineering technology education and is also one of the major limiting factors to throughput. This course was the perfect opportunity to investigate methods for offering a laboratory component without the requirement for a multiple, two to three hour, facility intensive laboratory sections. To this end, the course was designed to have two traditional lectures each week as well as one interactive lecture where students investigated concepts using simulation and instructor-led demonstrations. In addition, the students were also required to perform hands-on homework assignments that included filter design, communication circuit analysis, and the implementation of a simple communications receiver. This paper will present an outline of the course including a discussion of topics and hands-on experiences. The interactive portion of the course will be specifically discussed and details will be given about the format and resources needed. Finally, results will be discussed including instructor comments and impressions from the students on the effectiveness of the new course format.
name of conference
2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings