Just as the electronics industry can increase productivity with web-based tools, web-based design offers opportunities to improve education in the area of electronics and integrated circuits. This work describes a variety of web based design and analysis projects for a junior level electronics course and assesses their impact on student learning. Since the course using the projects comprises the second quarter of electronics instruction subsequent to introductory circuit analysis courses, the projects focus on relatively well-defined electronics subsystems. The projects exercise students’ skills with a range of course learning objectives, ranging from lower level calculation, analysis and circuit simulation objectives to higher level integrative and design objectives. The projects also give students experience using the web as a form of technical communication and collaboration. Our working hypothesis predicts that having students practice analysis within the environment of web based design problems strengthens their analysis abilities more than conventional drill style problem solving. As measured by survey data of student attitudes, students view the projects enthusiastically and believe the projects contribute to their technical understanding. However, as measured by tests requiring problem solving, project results do not always correlate significantly with students’ abilities to master the course objectives. Also, great variation exists in the correlation between student performance on traditional problem solving exercises and student ability to master the course objectives. This work summarizes project results and student performance over eight years of course offerings.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dbraun/5/