Teaching Suggestions

Thread Starter

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
782
I'm teaching circuits 2 this semester at the community college (EET curriculum). The school has traditionally had a mix of MultiSim and Bench Labs, but since COVID, things have obviously changed. I've been hinting to the director of the program that he should ditch the in-school lab for an in-home lab for each student. For about $300 an Analog Discovery and parts can be purchased for a wide variety of labs throughout the curriculum. Then they have the equipment for the rest of their lives, and can use it throughout the curriculum. Hard to justify for one class, but easy to justify for 5 classes out of a two year curriculum that could easily use it. I digress.

Due to COVID, I don't really want to be interacting too closely with the students, nor do I want them interfacing with each other and touching buttons on the oscilloscopes and other test gear and sharing germs that way either. Unfortunately, I'm starting to concede to the idea of all of the labs being MultiSim based for the entire semester. But if I could find a way to setup a bench lab for $100, I could maybe get them doing that and still get some hands on experience. Does anyone have any advice? If I could get something for about $100 then I could justify the cost because there's no textbook. Any ideas?
 

Thread Starter

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
782
Also, I'm aware there are poorly designed ebay/usb oscilloscopes, generators, etc. and I could piece together something, but that's really what I don't want to do. Need something of reasonable quality to keep the students engaged.
 
What kind of circuits do you want your students to build? And what do you want them to learn from it?

Depending on your answer, I imagine a combination of LabVIEW (If your college has the license, otherwise there is a free version called community edition, but I am not sure you can use it for educational purposes - that needs to be checked) with some simple hardware (e.g. arduino) could be used.

You could create the VIs yourself to have a graphical interface (similar to an oscilloscope) at ready, so the students can focus on the hardware, and not software.
 

Thread Starter

tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
782
Good thoughts... want to stay away from anything I have to do to make this happen... need a solution that is ready to go, out of the box. These students are generally new to electronics... I desire the labs to be hands on and using tools that they'll use every day (multimeters, function generators, oscilloscopes, etc) once they get into industry. LabVIEW is great, but I'm pretty sure they get exposure to it in their second year of classes, and I've barely used it, and not really interested in learning it.

We'll be working on thevenin, norton, resistive loading, battery impedance, transient RL, RC, RLC response, intro to opamps, electronic switches (diodes, bjt, mosfet), and simple power supplies... linear and switching.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,342
I correspond with an instructor who teaches EET courses at a local community college, they ended up getting picoscopes so students can perform labs at home. MultiSim is currently used for sim but skipping the experience of burning components, mistakes in wiring and identifying correct pins is something you can’t teach on a computer.

While a kit is a great idea, I’m sure we will be back in classrooms in a year so it’s a stop gap. I would love to see something similar to National Labs ELVIS but affordable so students can keep. Perhaps a class can be taught to build a power supply, sig gen... etc.

A robust system that can survive abuse while providing accuracy needed will take time to develop.
 
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