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Modification of an Introduction to Electronics Course to a Project Oriented Approach
Modification of an Introduction to Electronics
Course to a Project Oriented Approach
Electrical & Electronic Engineering Technology University of Akron Akron, Ohio
Abstract A year ago, the faculty of the Electrical & Electronic Engineering Technology program decided to take a close look at the sequence of classes that began with a first semester freshman class titled Introduction to Electronics & Computers. The follow up course is called Digital Circuits. A fair amount of time was being spent in Digital to retrace items from Intro. As a result it was decided that it might be advantageous to simply cover that material in Digital and revamp Intro to give the students more time to learn the actual circuit design, simulation, prototyping and board construction process. This material was only being modestly touched upon in Intro. Beginning with the Fall 2018 semester, Introduction to Electronics & Computers was modified with the important goal of each individual completing two projects whose outcome was a complete and functional electronic board. This was in addition to other assorted assignments that covered a variety of important topics such as Excel spreadsheets and graphing and important calculator operations as examples. The first project was a three way board level switch that switched between two LEDs connected to a 9 volt battery pigtail and the second was a BJT common collector voltage amplifier. The two projects each were begun by prototyping the circuits on a prototyping board. They were next each developed and simulated in Multisim and exported to Ultiboard. Within Ultiboard the students were provided with specifications that their boards had be designed to prior to creating Gerber files. Once the Gerber files are created the student has options pertaining to how to the board is to be manufactured. The two options we have on campus are an AMC2500 Quick Circuit 5000 circuit board router and a newly purchased Voltera V-One circuit board printer. In addition, the staff has become proficient at exporting the necessary files to oshpark.com, an inexpensive and convenient manufacturer of electronic boards. The staff can also provided boards of a standard design, provided through OSHPARK for those who incorrectly design or can’t complete there own designs correctly. The boards are then soldered, providing the requirement to teach soldering techniques, by the students in an attempt to get the boards completely functional. This paper will examine the results of these modifications to the Intro course. Depictions of the successes and failures will be examined. A close look at the purchase of the Voltera printer and AMC Router will be examined as well as the financial merits and time considerations of producing the boards on either of these two options versus having the boards manufactured externally.