This work describes the enormous benefit of providing hands on learning to students for building engineering instincts and expertise. Fundamentally, engineering education strives to provide students with the theoretical background to begin working in a research or industrial role. In electrical engineering, intuition and technical skill sometimes takes years to develop and is often not heavily focused on in undergraduate education. By giving students early access to specialized pieces of equipment and technical hands on training early in their education, it allows them to develop innovative ideas that utilize this equipment for their capstone projects. It also allows students to quickly become comfortable and have an intuitive understanding about the tools that electrical engineering depends on, instead of having to develop their proficiency in the first five years of being in the workforce or graduate school.
A Student Electronic Resource Center (SERC) provides hands-on learning that complements the theoretical understanding that is being developed in the classroom, and students are able to develop their intuition at a rapid pace. As part of the ABET continuous improvement criteria, SERC can provide high quality instruction in a variety of classes with one-on-one guidance by a highly skilled technican. Classes can consist of training on various pieces of laboratory equipment, soldering skills, microcontroller implementations, practical electronic components, PCB design, and much more. Once a student has gone through training on the equipment, they are able to use it for their projects or coursework.The classes build on each other to provide a continuous learning environment that can rapidly build student confidence in being able to tackle engineering problems. Students are actively engaged with material that interests them and they are more willing to learn and apply their knowledge both inside and outside the classroom. By integrating the practical and technical side of engineering with the theoretical in a much more open environment than a traditional lab course, SERC allows students to be very creative while still providing solid instruction.
A SERC has been described in this study and its effectiveness is backed up with student testimonials on how it impacted their education and career. SERC has supported numerous faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates with research and capstone projects by providing the practical and technical training for projects. SERC is multidisciplinary in electrical, chemical, mechanical, and biomedical engineering fields and encourages students to collaborate on projects and share ideas with each other.
Preferred: Poster session
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.