Experimental Centric Pedagogy

Project Team: Dr. Qiang Le, Dr. Otsebele Nare, Dr. Zhao Sun

Funded by: NSF


Hampton University is collaborating with 12 HBCU electrical and computer engineering ABET accredited programs (with Howard University as Lead Institution) on a project to implement and expand experimental centric based instructional pedagogy (ECP) in engineering curricula. The key goal of the project is the production of a larger number of better prepared African American engineers, as well as other students who have a better public understanding of technology and its role in STEM education and policy. The guiding hypothesis is that engineering education works best in a learning environment in which experimentation plays a central role rather than existing on the periphery as is too often the case at too many engineering schools. The cost of building, maintaining, supporting and using expensive, limited-access experimental facilities has historically made it difficult to fully integrate hands-on, hardware-based learning experiences into our classrooms. The recent availability of personal instrumentation (e.g. Mobile Studio, Analog Discovery, myDAQ and others) has so lowered the traditional barriers to implementation that ECP is now feasible just about anywhere and anytime. In this paper, we explore the remaining barriers to making ECP a reality in required ECE circuits and electronics sequences. All of the partner schools have successfully changed their courses to incorporate experiments and other activities built around Analog Discovery. These courses were generally the first to be impacted by personal instrumentation at other institutions, so there was a lot of existing content available to be adapted/adopted by project partners in either lab courses or lecture course that previously had no hands-on component.