It has been reported that 58% of students in engineering programs switch their majors in the first two years. Some of statistics are due to teaching approaches that are not suitable for current populations of students that learn and acquire new knowledge quite differently from those of earlier generations.
Several new pedagogical paradigms have been proposed to improve engineering education, such as the use of “hands-on” tools to change the learning style in the engineering classroom to more engaging teaching pedagogies. An approach that is being used to engage and inspire the electrical and computer engineering freshman students at an HBCU institution is the Electrical Engineering Practicum. The Electrical Engineering Practicum is a cloud-based book that uses the analog discovery module and electronic parts kit to facilitate hands-on learning and self-exploration by the students.
The paper will describe the hands-on learning experiences of freshman students who used the Electrical Engineering Practicum. The paper will discuss the various laboratory experiments performed by the students, the knowledge and skill learnt by the students, the lessons learned while introducing Analog Discovery (AD) Board into the freshman curriculum.
Preliminary data indicate that students are benefiting from the use of the AD Boards. Students report increases in their interest in subject content, motivation to learn, and confidence in their ability to learn. Increases in these variables appear to be yielding positive student perceptions of their current knowledge and ability level.
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award Number 1255441 for Experimental Centric Based Engineering Curriculum for HBCUs.
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