About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3037-3046
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain

SYNERGY OF EDUCATIONAL TOOLS IN TEACHING OF A NEW LECTURE/LAB/PROJECT COURSE ON ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND WAVES

V. Mitin1, N. Vagidov1, A. Petrou1, J. Zawicki2

1University at Buffalo, SUNY (UNITED STATES)
2Buffalo State College, SUNY (UNITED STATES)
There are many excellent undergraduate courses developed for new emerging disciplines such as for example, nanoelectronics, bio-photonics and electronics, cellular and molecular bioengineering, etc. These courses are not taught in the traditional lecture style; instead most of them have an experimental laboratory component in order to offer students valuable hands-on experience in these emerging fields. Instructors also use online response systems, educational Java applets, and numerical software to promote students’ active learning. In contrast to these courses for newly emerging disciplines the courses in Electromagnetic Fields and Waves (EFW) for junior students are mostly taught in a lecture, purely theoretical style. As a result, the instructors that teach EFW course using the conventional method encounter the following three problems:

1. There is a disconnection between the mathematics used to describe electromagnetic phenomena and the physics, even when one or two chapters on mathematical topics is given at the beginning of the semester. The situation is even worse if the teachers rely on students’ mathematical knowledge from math courses.
2. There is a disconnection between the theory discussed in the lectures and the experiments carried out in the accompanying lab. This disconnection is made more severe by two factors: (a) sometimes the lab either precedes or lags behind the lecture material and (b) the theory and the lab are taught by two separate instructors that have different ideas about what is important and what is not and different teaching philosophies.
3. In the present system assessment of the students’ understanding is infrequent. Typically it consists of final exam with one or two midterms. As a result the students do not put a uniform effort in learning the course but, under the pressure of other courses, apply themselves to the EFW course for only a short period of time just before the exams, resulting in an uneven and incomplete learning.

To overcome the problems described above the following teaching scheme will be used:

1. First of all each theoretical topic, described in the lecture part of the course, will be covered by a lab experiment.
2. To acquire deeply new abstract notions educational Java applets are of big help and Java applets have to be used in a way that provides active style of learning. Otherwise Java applets as traditional lectures provide a passive experience.
3. Connected with Java applets are means for numerical solutions of electromagnetic problems. Students will be able to compare numerical results with the experimental data that they obtained carrying out the lab experiments as well as with the results provided by Java applets.
4. The students’ progress will be assessed each week by giving them: (a) in-class quizzes and (b) out-class quizzes using Blackboard online system. This will ensure a uniform effort by the students which is expected to result in a better understanding of the course material.
The proposed style of teaching can be described best as a synergy of educational tools, i.e. “combined action” of the following components: 1. Power-point presentations; 2. Lab experiments; 3. Java applets; 4. Numerical calculations; and 5. Small group student project. Such combination of educational tools allows students to make repetitive connections between the studied concepts and provides their active learning.
@InProceedings{MITIN2013SYN,
author = {Mitin, V. and Vagidov, N. and Petrou, A. and Zawicki, J.},
title = {SYNERGY OF EDUCATIONAL TOOLS IN TEACHING OF A NEW LECTURE/LAB/PROJECT COURSE ON ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND WAVES},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {3037-3046}}
TY - CONF
AU - V. Mitin AU - N. Vagidov AU - A. Petrou AU - J. Zawicki
TI - SYNERGY OF EDUCATIONAL TOOLS IN TEACHING OF A NEW LECTURE/LAB/PROJECT COURSE ON ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND WAVES
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 3037
EP - 3046
ER -
V. Mitin, N. Vagidov, A. Petrou, J. Zawicki (2013) SYNERGY OF EDUCATIONAL TOOLS IN TEACHING OF A NEW LECTURE/LAB/PROJECT COURSE ON ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND WAVES, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, pp. 3037-3046.
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