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J.A. Somolinos, E. Tremps, C. Morón, A. García, C. Viñas

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
The learning of circuit theory in Technical Schools has been mandatory since several decades ago. In the old curriculum, the contents of circuit theory were subjects taught in the later years of the master learning, and the students had good knowledge in mathematics, differential equations, etc. With the new curriculum, framed under the European Higher Education Area, these contents have moved to the early grades, when students have not received contents of differential equations.
This is one of the main reasons because the contents have been focused on algebraic methods for the analysis of the steady state response of circuits, leaving for later analysis the transient response.
The use of computer tools to solve algebraic equations allows students to focus on understanding concepts rather than spend time in solving mathematical problems.
During the last year in the School of Naval Engineering and in the Technical School of Architecture (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) has implemented the use of OCTAVE to solve electrical circuits. Octave is a freeware available to the students, which has no economic cost to them.
In this work we have analyzed electrical circuits by using three methods: Mesh method, nodes method and principle of superposition) whose solutions have been obtained with Octave.
The extensive use of Octave has improved the academic performance of the subjects during the last year from a low passing rate to duplicate this rate.
As a main conclusion, it is expected to continue to use Octave in the coming years, with the intention of further improving the academic rates of these subjects.