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NEW PRACTICAL APPROACH TO CIRCUIT ANALYSIS IN DUAL-MODE TEACHING

M. Ballesta , M. Flores , L. Payá , O. Reinoso 

Miguel Hernandez University (SPAIN)
This paper presents the experiences that we have gathered in the process of adapting circuit analysis practices to a dual-mode teaching. Students perform these practical sessions during their second year of the degree studies of Electronic Engineering and Industrial Automation at the Miguel Hernandez University in Elche (Spain). These practical sessions belong to a compulsory subject called Circuits Theory, which is the basis of future subjects related to the fields of electricity and electronics. Circuit Theory focuses primarily on the analysis of electric circuits in direct current (DC) and alternate current (AC).

The theoretical concepts of the subject are assimilated through practical sessions. In these sessions, students should assemble an electrical circuit and then, be able to measure different variables and evaluate the effect that the electrical components have on the general behavior of the circuit. This learning-by-doing methodology enables students to do a deeper and more active learning of the subject.

However, the recent academic year has been conditioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19, which has had a huge impact on the teaching format at universities. The Miguel Hernandez University of Elche has opted for a dual-mode teaching solution that merges classroom teaching and distance learning simultaneously. This new approach has been a great challenge for us, as lecturers and our teaching methodology, as we have to lead sessions with students connected in both formats at the same time and adapt our methodology for students who follow the sessions from home. This challenge is even greater when it comes to degrees with a high degree of experimentation such as the case of the Electronic Engineering and Industrial Automation degree.

In this paper, we describe how the methodology of the Circuit Theory practical sessions has been adapted to the dual-mode teaching. At each session, all students are connected in a Google Meet room so that they can follow the practical sessions and interact with the lecturer and their classmates. In the context of the Circuit Theory subject, the biggest challenge has been finding a solution that allow students to work in the assembly of electric circuits from home. Regarding this matter, remotely connected students use an online CAD design software for circuit assembly and analysis. This tool gives students the opportunity to perform assemblies of electric circuits with a high degree of realism. They can work on a virtual protoboard, assemble an electric circuit on it and then measure the electric variables performing the tests proposed in the session.

The experience collected during the development of circuit analysis practices in dual-mode has resulted positive. The students keep being motivated even if they are not physically present in the practical sessions. They are able to understand properly the main concepts of the circuit analysis by practicing the assembly of electric circuits by means of an online CAD tool. This solution provide good results given the limitations imposed by the pandemic situation but also offers the opportunity for students to practice the concepts of the subject at home and even enlarge their knowledge on electric circuits. For that reason, we consider this tool as a future permanent resource that makes it possible to propose complementary activities that improve the learning capacity of students and increase their motivation.