System Design: A Novel, Project-Based Course Connecting the Dots of the Electrical Engineering Curriculum

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Journal Title

2013 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference


The four year curriculum of the Electrical Engineering program includes a fairly diverse set of classes covering topics including electronics, electromagnetics, signal processing, power & energy, digital systems, as well as communication and control systems. While these topics constitute the core components in the technical education of a future electrical engineer, a major missing component is the holistic, system understanding of these individual topics. This paper describes a class addressing the integration of the technical topics in addition to defining the overall architecture, the modularity of complex systems, as well as the interfaces between the different components to satisfy design requirements. The new class is a project-based, one credit-hour class with a single weekly meeting in a laboratory environment. The paper describes the assigned projects as well as their proposed solutions. The paper also includes assessment data including student feedback from the first class offering. Assessment shows a great student enthusiasm towards the class. It also shows that the class improved the student's conceptual knowledge, knowledge retention, and problem solving skills.

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