Computer Aided Design in Electronics (Analog and Digital Circuits Design, Upper Secondary Level Technical School)

Author(s): Senior assistant Stela Stefanova Ph.D., Radostina Gercheva M.Sc.

Affiliation(s): Technology school “Electronic Systems” (TUES) associated with Technical University of Sofia (TUS)

Date of publication: March 14, 2015

The Educational Problem

The educational problems were:

  1. To increase the interest and motivation of students:
  2. To meet the requirements of modern professional education for:
  • Improvement of students’ practical skills;
  • Group work on common projects;
  • Responsibilities allocation for the execution of the common tasks;
  • Creating skills in students to define their own timetable in order to meet specified deadline.

The problem was how to reorganize the Computer Aided Design course in order to:

  • achieve practice oriented education during the school year,
  • to obtain knowledge in  the fields of schematics and printed circuit design, analog and digital circuit simulation,
  • obtain better students’ learning outcomes

The Solution

In order to achieve these objectives and resolve problems a new trialogical educational approach was introduced with

  • Using cloud computing technologies,
  • Up-to-date communication tools for student-teacher connection
  • Continuous monitoring and assistance students’ activities

Trialogical approach was used to address

  • Team work on shared object (report)
  • Continuous and prolonged work (within 2 weeks) before the laboratory work.
  • Strengthening the tasks of circuit design using devices’ data sheets and simulation of the circuits, calculations of circuit’s currents and parameters
  • Continuous monitoring and teacher assistance in this process, providing help on request
  • Reporting on the individual contribution of each team member to the overall project
  • Respect to meet the deadline (after the prescribed date the project is locked for editing)

Key Experiences

The pilots were conducted with two classes of 52 students – 11 grade classes (15 weeks). In addition to the project work, students were required to submit seven individual homework assignments. Each team had to choose a project subject from a list provided by the teacher.

All participants had to register individual Google accounts. The teacher was responsible for creating a Google Docs document for each project report and sharing it with the team.

The key successes were:

  • Developing collaboration skills in students;
  • making use of project based learning;
  • using problem solving as a teaching tool;
  • using modern cloud technologies as shared environment for collaboration during this course with timely, appropriate and detailed feedback and reflection;
  • It is collaborative in nature and uses enabling and empowering technologies;
  • It fosters Contextual learning bridging the disciplines and curriculum areas.

Materials and Links

Course website: https://sites.google.com/site/cadtues/

Presentation materials: Students are provided all materials for lectures, instructions for exercises, directions for handling simulation tools, interactive teaching materials

  1. https://sites.google.com/site/cadtues/cadence-orcad-capture-lectures
  2. https://sites.google.com/site/cadtues/cadence-orcad-layout-lectures
  3. https://sites.google.com/site/cadtues/lesson1

 
Student documentation and products:

  1. Weekly assignments: https://sites.google.com/site/cadtues/sudent-weekly-assignments-student-projects/students-weekly-projects
  2. Student projects: https://sites.google.com/site/cadtues/sudent-weekly-assignments-student-projects/student-projects

Links to full original document: