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Appears in:
Pages: 7989-7994
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0433

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

TEACHING DEPENDENT SOURCES EFFICIENTLY IN AN ELECTRIC CIRCUIT ANALYSIS COURSE

J. Gonzalez

SUNY New Paltz (UNITED STATES)
The typical academic semester format employed by most universities in the United States poses a significant problem for instructors of engineering courses. For example, at SUNY New Paltz, the course “EGE200 Electric Circuit Analysis” – which encompasses a significant and varied amount of topics- is taught in only one semester through 28 lectures (26 discounting two classes allocated to midterm examinations).

This course includes topics such as:
1) DC Analysis of circuits with dependent and independent sources: nodal and mesh analysis, circuit theorems, step response of first and second order circuits, and
2) AC analysis: phasors, nodal and mesh analysis, circuit theorems, complex power, magnetically coupled circuits, transformers, and balanced three-phase circuits. It is difficult for an instructor to design learning experiences that support their students in developing strong understandings of the breadth and depth of information covered in such a course.

Some universities address this challenge by separating Circuit Analysis into a DC course and an AC course. Unfortunately, at SUNY New Paltz this approach would create credit-transfer problems with partner community colleges, since these institutions teach DC and AC in a single course. Confronted with similar issues, universities are left to:
(a) eliminate unnecessary topics, and/or
(b) teach certain topics more efficiently.

Unfortunately, action
(a) would be limited to only a few topics, such as super nodes and super meshes, which involve floating voltage and current sources that we never find in real life applications. The main contribution of this paper is around action
(b), centered on the topic of dependent sources, which at SUNY New Paltz we teach in a different, simpler, and more efficient way.

Our approach is informed by two important observations:
1) Regular textbooks present a large variety of examples of dependent-source circuits that never occur in practice.
2) Later on, when taking an Electronics course, students apply dependent source theory to a reduced amount of amplifier topologies (e.g., common source or emitter, common drain or collector and common gate or base).

Therefore, our approach is to adopt as examples of dependent-source circuits, the specific transistor amplifier topologies that are utilized in practice. This not only focuses the amount of material covered in the course, but also results in students developing background knowledge for practical applications. Of course, we do not explain to students taking Circuit Analysis why or how transistors are modeled by dependent sources. We simply tell them that, by learning the theory of these circuits at present, it will become easier for them to understand transistor amplifiers in the future. Thus far, we have had promising results with student who have gone through this revised course.

This paper provides examples of the dependent-source amplifier circuits used in “EGE200 Electric Circuit Analysis” at SUNY New Paltz. Instructors teaching Circuit Analysis at any other Institution can readily adopt these useful examples. This paper also presents assessment of student learning that measures the pedagogic advantage of teaching dependent sources using circuits that have a practical application.
@InProceedings{GONZALEZ2018TEA,
author = {Gonzalez, J.},
title = {TEACHING DEPENDENT SOURCES EFFICIENTLY IN AN ELECTRIC CIRCUIT ANALYSIS COURSE},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.0433},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.0433},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {7989-7994}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Gonzalez
TI - TEACHING DEPENDENT SOURCES EFFICIENTLY IN AN ELECTRIC CIRCUIT ANALYSIS COURSE
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.0433
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 7989
EP - 7994
ER -
J. Gonzalez (2018) TEACHING DEPENDENT SOURCES EFFICIENTLY IN AN ELECTRIC CIRCUIT ANALYSIS COURSE, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 7989-7994.
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